Movement Disorders and Cognitive monitoring in MS

Project Details

An important ongoing project, is the implementation of a computerized cognitive test using a purpose-specific website, The software was made available by Neurability ( and was adapted for the website by A/Prof David Derby from the Florey institute of Neuroscience.  The testing platform allows neurologists to quickly test a person with MS' reaction speed and working memory and results are immedialtely availble.  The test is also available for self-testing allowing people with MS to test themselves at home. The goal of this study is to develop a monitoring tool that can provide information about cognitive deterioration very early in people with MS that can then help guide decisions about treatment changes as well as direct people to appropriate resources that can aide cognition. Our previous work has shown that the tests are more sensitive than research-type cognitive tests (the PASAT) to detect changes over 12 months.  In collaboration with Box Hill Hospital and the MSBase group, we plan to implement msreactor in large groups of people with MS.


  • Mr. Daniel Merlo, Research assistant  
  • Dr. Thushara Perera, Biomechanical engineer
  • Dr. Gustavo Noffs, Research Assistant  
    Dr. Camille Shanahan, Neuro-imaging scientist


  • Dr Andrew Evans, Movement disorders Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne
  • Dr Thushara Perera, The Bionics institute, Universoty of Melbourne
  • Dr Scott Kolbe, Neuro-imaging group, Melbourne Brain Centre, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Adam Vogel, The Department of Audiology and Speech pathology, University of Melbourne
  • Prof. Mary Galea, The Department of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne
  • Prof. Helmut Butzkueven, MS Research Unit, Box Hill Hospital
  • A/Prof David Darby, Behavioural Neurosciences, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health


  • This team is funded by the NHMRC for their work in Tremor in MS. The Botox for the MS tremor study is provided unconditioanlly by Allergan Australia.  
  • The msreactor project is being supported by the MS Research Unit, Eastern Health as well as Novartis through an unconditional research grant.

Research Publications

  1. Van der Walt A, Stankovich J, Rubio J, Foote S, Bahlo M, Van der Mei IAF, Taylor BV, Kilpatrick TJ, Butzkueven H. Heterogeneity at the HLA-DRB1 locus does not influence multiple sclerosis disease severity, brain atrophy or cognition. Multiple Sclerosis 2010; 17(3): 344-352
  2. Van der Walt A, Marriott M, Kolbe, S, Gresle, M, Butzkueven H, Kilpatrick TJ.  Neuroprotection in multiple sclerosis: a therapeutic challenge for the next decade. Pharmacology & Therapeutics 126 (2010) 82–93
  3. Van der Walt A, Stankovich J, Rubio J, Foote S, Bahlo M, Van der Mei IAF, Taylor BV, Kilpatrick TJ, Butzkueven H.  The ApoE polymorphism does not predict MS severity, cognition or cerebral atropy. Neurology 2009; 73:1018-1026.
  4. Van der Walt A, Kolbe SC, Mitchell PJ, Wang Y, Butzkueven H, Egan GF, Yiannikas C, Graham S, Kilpatrick TJ, Klistorner A. Parallel changes in structural and functional measures of optic nerve myelination after optic neuritis. PLoS ONE 2015

Research Group

MS and Comorbidities Team

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Medicine and Radiology

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