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Common Cognitive Symptoms in MS

Updated on October 30, 2019

MS can affect different parts of people’s brains and cause different cognitive symptoms. Some people with MS refer to their cognitive symptoms as “brain fog.” Some of the most common types of cognitive symptoms include:

Attention & Concentration

Your mind wanders or you lose your train of thoughtExamples of trouble with attention and concentration include:

  • You are easily distracted and have problems concentrating on tasks

Information & Processing

Having trouble learning new thingsExamples of problems with information processing are:

  • Feeling like your brain works slowly
  • Feeling as though it is hard to follow conversations when more than one person is talking at once
  • Feeling easily overwhelmed in loud places such as a restaurant or while watching a movie in a theater
  • Having trouble following directions
How does multiple sclerosis impact brain health and cognitive function?
Read on.

Short-Term Memory

Forgetting people’s namesExamples of difficulty with short-term memory are:

  • Putting things back in the wrong place, for instance, the milk in the cupboard instead of the refrigerator
  • Losing track of sentences or conversations in the middle
  • Getting lost in places that you have been to many times
  • Having trouble remembering how to do tasks, for instance how to use a debit card

Verbal Fluency

You can’t find the words you want to sayExamples of trouble with verbal fluency are:

  • You mix up the order of words, such as “cat black” instead of “black cat”
  • You don’t say the words you intend, and can confuse words when speaking

Executive Functioning

Having trouble multitasking, or doing more than one thing at the same timeExamples of problems with executive functioning are:

  • Difficulty organizing or planning

Visual-Spacial Relations

Having trouble judging dimensions of areas - for instance, parking spotsExamples of trouble with visual-spatial relations include:

  • Confusion with sense of direction

MyMSTeam recently conducted a survey of more than 850 members about cognitive symptoms. Read about results from the MyMSTeam member survey:

Do you experience MS cognitive symptoms? Share in the comments below.

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