Cognitive Health in Multiple Sclerosis Research Lab

Cognitive Health in Multiple Sclerosis Research Lab

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Contact Information

Lisa Walker, PhD, C.Psych

Fax -613-737-8895

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Lisa Walker

Clinician Investigator, Neuroscience
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa
Adjunct Professor, School of Psychology
University of Ottawa
Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Psychology and Institute of Cognitive Science
Carleton University

Research Interests

Our team is interested in cognitive health in multiple sclerosis.  To that end, our research can be categorized into the following themes.

1.  Cognitive Fatigability
- measurement of cognitive fatigability
- interventions to target cognitive fatigability

2.  Impact of Stem-Cell Therapies on Cognition
- cognitive outcomes following immunoablation and hematopoietic stem cell therapy
- cognitive outcomes following mesenchymal stem cell therapy

3.  Cognition and Biomarkers of Disease Activity
- relationship of cognition to functional and structural neuroimaging
- relationship of cognition to serum biomarkers (e.g. sNfL)

4.  Assessment of Cognition
- validation of neuropsychological measures in MS
- establishment of normative data to improve clinical utility of research findings

5.  Cognition and Exercise
- the impact of exercise interventions on cognition

Brief Biography

Dr. Walker is a Clinical Neuropsychologist at the Ottawa Hospital and a Clinician Investigator with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute where she has a research program evaluating cognitive health in multiple sclerosis. Her research focuses on cognitive fatigability, the cognitive impact of stem cell therapies, assessment and longitudinal evaluation of cognition, as well as the relationship between cognition and biomarkers of disease activity. She co-leads the Multiple Sclerosis Research Group and is on the Scientific Council of the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, as well as an Adjunct Research Professor with both Psychology and Cognitive Science at Carleton University. Dr. Walker completed an undergraduate degree at Queen’s University and received her PhD from the University of Windsor. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in rehabilitation neuropsychology at the Sister’s of Charity of Ottawa Health Service (now Bruyere Continuing Care). In her private practice, she provides neuropsychological assessments and co-leads a cognitive rehabilitation group for people living with multiple sclerosis.

Selected Publications

Berard, J.A. & Walker, L.A.S. (2022). Validity and sensitivity of Canadian normative data for the Minimal Assessment of Cognitive Function in Multiple Sclerosis (MACFIMS) battery. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. (published on-line 10 May 2022).

Berard, J.A., Freedman, M.S., Marrie, R.A., Marriott, J.J., Atkins, H.L., Szwajcer, D., Courtman, D.W., Thebault, S. & Walker, L.A.S. (2022). The impact of mesenchymal stem cell therapy on cognition in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 61, 1-8, 103779 (published on-line 27 March 2022).

Berard, J.A. & Walker, L.A.S. (2021). Increasing the clinical utility of the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test: Normative data for standard performance, dyad and cognitive fatigability scoring. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, 34(2), 107-116. https://doi:10.1097/WNN.0000000000000268. PMID: 34074865

Walker, L.A.S., Lindsay-Brown, A.P. & Berard, J.A. (2019). Cognitive fatigability interventions in neurological conditions: A systematic review. Neurology and Therapy, 8(2), 251-271. (published on-line 4 October 2019). PMID: 31586303

Atkins, H.L., Bowman, M., Allan, D., Anstee, G., Arnold, D.L., Bar-Or, A., Bence-Bruckler, I., Birch, P., Bredeson, C., Chen, J., Fergusson, D., Halpenny, M., Hamelin, L., Heubsch, L., Hutton, B., Laneuville, P., Lapierre, Y., Lee, H., Martin, L., McDiarmid, S., O’Connor, P., Ramsay, T., Sabloff, M., Walker, L.A.S. & Freedman, M.S. (2016; 6-12 Aug). Immunoablation and autologous haemopoietic stem-cell transplantation for aggressive multiple sclerosis: a multicentre single-group phase 2 trial. The Lancet, 388 (10044), 576-585, (online 9 June 2016) PMID: 27291994

Diseases, conditions and populations of interest

Research and clinical approaches