Event-related brain potential evidence for a verbal working memory deficit in multiple sclerosis

Daniel S. Ruchkin*, Jordan Grafman, Gregory L. Krauss, Ray Johnson, Howard Canoune, Walter Ritter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Summary: Memory deficits are frequently identified in patients with multiple sclerosis. Both working (short-term) and long-term memory appear affected, particularly on free-recall tasks. The focus of our study was to examine neurophysiological correlates of working memory processes and to identify the specific components responsible for the working memory deficits reported in multiple sclerosis. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded from the scalp of mildly afflicted multiple sclerosis patients and their matched normal controls during the performance of phonological and visuo-spatial working memory tasks. Neuropsychological test, behavioural performance and ERP data all indicated that verbal working memory is especially susceptible to impairment by multiple sclerosis, while visuospatial working memory is less susceptible. The pattern of results further indicated that the verbal working memory dysfunction in multiple sclerosis is at least partially due to impairment in the phonological loop, a rehearsal mechanism for retaining verbal information in working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-305
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1994


  • Event-related potentials
  • Left anterior negativity
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Phonological loop
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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