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When your MS Gives You “Brain Fog”

Posted on March 05, 2017

“Brain fog” from MS can come in many forms. Do any of the following sound familiar to you?

  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Forgetting your best friend’s name in conversation
  • Trouble concentrating at work
  • Accidentally leaving the stove on all day
  • Briefly getting lost in your own neighborhood or home
  • Difficulty multi-tasking

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you’re not alone. All these are common examples of cognitive issues caused by multiple sclerosis.

48% of MyMSTeam members reported experiencing cognitive issues in our “What Matters in MS Survey”. It’s the third most discussed symptom on MyMSTeam after fatigue and walking/mobility issues, and for many - it starts early.

In fact, in a recent Q&A post asking “How far into your diagnosis of MS did your cognitive issues (if any) develop?” – about one-third of responses said the cognitive issues began prior to diagnosis, and another 30% said it came within the first 5 years after diagnosis.

How far into your diagnosis of MS did your cognitive issues (if any) develop?
(Analysis of 437 responses to this question on MyMSTeam in February 2017).

What Can You Do About It?

Cognitive issues are definitely something to be tracking and discussing with your neurologists. Your doctor may not always bring it up, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real or not linked to your MS. Here are some things to ask your doctor at your next appointment:

  • “Is there a way to measure my cognitive functioning baseline?”
  • Ask about simple cognition tests you can take online or on paper that help you establish your baseline for cognition. Take this test periodically to see if you notice any decline.

  • “Here are some cognitive issues I had since the last time we met. What do you think I can do about this?”
  • Jot down when you have cognitive issues and let your doctor know about it.

  • “Do you have any computer-assisted therapies to recommend that could help improve my cognition?”
  • Recently published evidence shows that some types of computer-assisted therapies can actually lead to an improvement in cognition.

  • “Are there any DMT’s (disease modifying therapies) for MS that have shown any benefits for cognitive issues? If not, are there any other therapies that could help with the symptoms?”
  • Many MyMSTeam members report their doctors prescribing therapies such as Ritalin or Provigil to help with focus (although sometimes these therapies can have an impact on your sleep so it’s not right for everyone). We just added a whole list of these types of therapies to MyMSTeam so that you find others taking them and talk to them about it. If you are taking one of these medicines, please update your profile to let others know how it’s working for you.

What cognitive symptoms do you experience? Are you taking any treatments to help manage them?

Please share your experience in the comment section below!

A MyMSTeam Member said:

i take something similar, concerta. i take 1 pill a day to get to about 1. then i nap. if i need to be up all day i need to take two and it keeps me up… read more

posted about 1 month ago

hug

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