James F Sumowski, PhD
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Neurology
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Psychiatry
Research Topics:Cognitive Neuroscience, Depression, Memory, Multiple Sclerosis
James F. Sumowski, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Mount Sinai and the clinical neuropsychologist at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Dr. Sumowski is an expert on cognition in persons with MS, and he introduced the concept of “reserve” against cognitive decline in MS: the observation that genetic and environmental factors can moderate deleterious effects of disease on functional outcomes (representative article: Sumowski et al., Neurology 2014). The Sumowski Laboratory works to advance understanding and improvement of functional outcomes. Toward this end, Dr. Sumowski is the PI of a large prospective National Institutes of Health (NIH / NICHD) R01 grant to identify modifiable risk and protective factors linked to cognitive decline, which will inform future interventions.
Dr. Sumowski is a leader in the field. He recently led an international group of MS experts toward a joint statement of knowledge gaps, obstacles, and research priorities for the field of cognition in persons with MS (Sumowski et al., Neurology 2018). In addition to outlining several specific recommendations for research and clinical practice, the statement highlights the critical need to develop testable and biologically plausible models of cognitive decline due to MS, which will lay the groundwork for much-needed evidence-based rehabilitation.
Dr. Sumowski is Co-Director of the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai, which will prepare trainees for careers as clinician-researchers in academic medical center settings. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he serves as dissertation mentor for Ph.D. candidates.
Dr. Sumowski offers telemedicine appointments when appropriate. Please call his office to schedule a video visit.
- Memory Disorder
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neuromyelitis Optica
- Neuropsychological testing
BA, Seton Hall University
PhD, Columbia University
Internship, Clinical Neuropsychology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Fellowship, Clinical Neuropsychology, New Jersey Medical School - Rutgers University
Reserve against Cognitive Decline Due to Multiple Sclerosis
Cognitive decline is common among persons with neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS); however, some persons are better able to withstand neurologic disease without difficulties in thinking or memory. Dr. Sumowski's research seeks to identify sources of "reserve" against cognitive decline in persons with MS. He has shown that persons with MS who lead more mentally-active lifestyles (e.g., reading, hobbies) are at lower risk for disease-related cognitive decline. Dr. Sumowski's current work seeks to identify a range of modifiable lifestyle factors contributing to reserve, with the goal of advancing primary prevention of cognitive difficulties due to MS.
Memory Treatments for Persons with Multiple Sclerosis
Memory deficits are among the most common cognitive difficulties experienced by persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), with negative consequences for employment and overall quality of life. There are currently no validated treatments for MS memory impairment. Dr. Sumowski has published early stage research investigating memory interventions through the use of cognitive strategies, lifestyle modifications, and pharmaceutical interventions. Dr. Sumowski is engaging in research to better understand the neural basis of memory deficits due to MS, which will inform the development of novel treatments with greater promise for success.
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Dr. Sumowski did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2022 and/or 2023: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.
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