Monitoring Cognitive Decline in MS or Cog-Fog the Untold Story

Monitoring Cognitive Decline in Multiple Sclerosis

Many Multiple Sclerosis patients experience a condition referred to as “Cog-Fog”. Cog-Fog varies from person to person but the majority of complaints come in the form of; loss of memory, inability to concentrate, language difficulties, and difficulties with problem solving.

I recently experienced a severe attack of this on a trip to our states capital for work. I’ve driven there many times for meetings but on this particular trip, I suddenly forgot how to get there or why I was going. I pulled out my GPS but when it told me to turn right, I panicked; I couldn’t remember which way was right. Everything came back to me fairly quickly; however, an experience like that leaves you rattled. I reported the episode to my doctor.

Establishing a baseline for cognitive ability is an important part of beginning to understand the extent of the impact of multiple sclerosis on the brain. The Neurologist defers to a Neuropsychologist to do the assessment.

A Neuropsychologist studies the specific structure and function of the brain as it relates to certain processes. This is important to us with MS as it looks at the relationship between the nervous system and cognitive function. Very simplified I know, but it serves the purpose for definition here.

My first experience with cognitive testing took place yesterday. The Wechsler Adult Memory Scale (WMS) involved 3 hours of testing. The test includes; spatial addition, symbol span, design memory, general cognitive screening, logical memory, verbal paired associates, and visual reproduction. A person’s performance is reported as five Index Scores: Auditory Memory, Visual Memory, Visual Working Memory, Immediate Memory, and Delayed Memory.

Scoring for my exam is not yet complete; although, the doctor did say that it was apparent through the course of the exam that I have difficulty with spatial reasoning which is important in learning and problem solving. This is not a normal state for me as I’ve often been accused of “thinking like an engineer”. This is; however, another example of how MS can rob us of our normal selves.

While the prospect of increasing cognitive deficits loom; as a result of this disease, I have hope. There is a possibility of utilizing therapies and tools to fine tune and retrain the brain to cope and still function reasonably well even with a progressive disease such as multiple sclerosis.

Putting together puzzles or using an App such as “Pictorial” is a good way to get started in improving the spatial reasoning function of the brain.

My future holds more cognitive testing and an EEG as well as some new therapies designed to remap the way my brain communicates things. I will continue to add posts on the subject as I learn more.

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About Kotori_kim

"i owned the world that hour as i rode over it. Free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably i was bound to them." ~Charles Lindbergh
This entry was posted in alternative therapy, Disease, Health, multiple sclerosis, Pain, psychological health, RRMS, Therapy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Monitoring Cognitive Decline in MS or Cog-Fog the Untold Story

  1. pbus1 says:

    Good morning,

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. Those who suffer from RSD, may also suffer from what is called RSD brain fog. The symptoms are almost exactly the same as what you described as cog fog. As you said, it varies from person-to-person. It’s wonderful that there is hope of retraining the brain with the various therapies and tools that are available!

    A friend of mine who suffers from RSD, has a sister who suffers from MS. I’m going to send her the link to your blog. I think she’d be interested in reading this article. Thanks again, and I will keep you in my prayers. Have a blessed day.

    Paulette

    • foxfires71 says:

      Good morning. I’m so glad you found my post helpful and that you plan to share it with others who might benefit. I appreciate your prayers and will keep you and yours in mine as well. Kim

  2. The Hobbler says:

    The cognitive loss is one of the scariest things I have experienced in my MS journey, and I’m in a wheelchair. It is so frustrating to not be able to spell some simple word I’ve known most of my life, or getting completely lost either in conversation or in your home town. Thanks for bringing this topic up.

    • foxfires71 says:

      I agree that it is by far the scariest symptom I’ve experienced with MS. I believe we have hope though. Try some of the sites such as Luminosity.com and the App called pictorial. They are excellent starting points for improving cognitive function. I was also told jigsaw puzzles are great for helping with spatial reasoning. We can train our brains, that much we do know. Never give up the fight.

  3. Tricia Weekly says:

    I have no diagnosis, but have had 4 different doctors over the years mention possible MS. Recent numbness in my arm has me back at a neurologist. But, with this, I have been experiencing what I now know to be cog fog of some type. I just assumed it was a little peri-menopausal symptoms and didn’t think much of it. But not being able to picture what my kitchen looked like for at least a full minute really rattled me. I have many quick blips of memory of where I am, searching for words and even typing the wrong word (thank God for backspace). I can’t tell you how often I lose thoughts of what I am doing or came to do on the computer. Don’t know if I have MS, but this is the scariest part to me as well. Whatever it is, losing cognitive function is terrifying. 😦 Thanks for this article.

    • foxfires71 says:

      The journey to diagnosis is long and frustrating. I’m sorry your going through this. It is so scary when we face the cognitive aspects of this disease. I hope your battle with this is as easy as it can be.

  4. I received my official MS diagnosis about 4 hours ago after suffering from unrelenting “cog-fog” for about 3 years. I have never had a “good day” or “bad day” just consistent cloudiness and lack of focus.

    This has been the most bizarre thing I have ever had to deal with. I went from a sharp minded, incredibly motivated person to a brain dead zombie within the span of a couple of weeks. As a business owner this disease has been crippling and has me second guessing whether or not I should continue pursuing my life long dream. I feel like reaching a successful spot where my business will begin to flourish is just beyond my reach and this persistent lack of concentration is the only thing holding me down.

    Please continue to check back and follow your progress in hopes you find something to help you, and can offer suggestions as to help others. My heart goes out to everyone experiencing these symptoms. You are all very strong people to not just throw your hands up and be done with life. Keep fighting and stay strong!

    • foxfires71 says:

      I’m sorry for your recent diagnosis; but at the same time, isn’t it a relief to finally know the answer? It was for me. Kevin; don’t give up on your dreams. MS does not define who you are as an individual it is merely something present within you. It gets very frustrating at times but now that the doctors are sure of what is going on, there are medications that can help. There are also other ways to help deal with the “cog-fog”; by far, the most useful tool I have is my mini notebook and pen to remind me of things. More recently, my iphone, now that I’ve learned how to get Siri to take voice memos and set a time for it to send me reminders. Here for you if you need someone to talk to. I also belong to a great support group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifewithmsandotherchronicdiseases/ check it out; its good to have people to talk with that are going through the same thing.

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