To explore verbal memory impairments associated with multiple
sclerosis (MS), we compared proactive and retroactive interference effects
on the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT; Delis et
al., 1987) in a sample of 83 community-residing individuals with MS
and 80 healthy participants. Individuals with MS demonstrated normal
accumulation of proactive interference (PI), but attenuated release from
PI relative to healthy individuals. Furthermore, accumulation of
retroactive interference (RI) at short-delay free recall (SDFR) was
intensified for those with MS as compared to healthy participants.
Interestingly, accumulation of RI predicted long-term memory (LTM) only
for participants with MS. These findings suggest that individuals with MS
may experience particular difficulty when required to use semantic
properties of information flexibly to facilitate verbal LTM.
(JINS, 2005, 11, 737–746.)