Cognitive/Mental symptoms

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Cognitive/Mental symptoms

Postby Austin018 » Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:39 am

I hope this is the right place to post this thread! Anyway, I wanted to get a feel of the people looking at this on a particular problem/symptom I have had for a long time, and I really can not seem to get any good answers on this elsewhere: Cognitive functions.

I guess the best way for me to describe this problem is I have noticed over the course of the last say, 5 years I have had a slight, general lag in my coginitive skills/abilities. I am now 28 years old, male, and this problem I first began to notice was 23, but it didnt really become bothersome until I was about 25 or so. I have much more trouble with my memory, esp. short term (ie recalling phone numbers dictated, web sites, names, etc.)--I find im using a lot more lists to aide me.
Also, I have just this general feel of a "fog" sometimes, where I just cant concentrait or if I am writing, I will not be able to put together good sentence/paragraph structure as well as I had previously (say, 5 years ago).....kind of like my ability to write well has declined somewhat, just some. I have more trouble finding certain words sometimes too, as of more recently, even common words often---this can be a little embarrasing, esp. for someone my age.....
Its really hard to place this into words, but hopefully some people here reading this will be able to understand what I am saying, and maybe have eperienced this too.....I did explain this to a couple of doctors and neurologists, and none seemed really much concerned with this problem. I do have other physical symptoms of course (which are rather mild as of now, thank God), but I have ben able to find very little information on symptoms of this nature, though I do know they are somewhat common in persons with!!!! ;)
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:12 am

hi austin, yes i have experienced and read about cognitive issues in ms.

i came to ms after 15 years of veganism so at first i tried to figure out how to be the healthiest possible vegan and then i decided instead to eat ominvorously, in the healthiest way for my body-as-ecosystem, and try to repair previous damage with therapeutic doses of supplements.

that was just to give you a heads-up on my perspective on things.

so early days of reading, first i was into the b12 thing. there is a large body of research suggesting that hematologic criteria defining b12 deficiency are insufficient and a better normal range for b12 is needed.

there's a study from japan in the late 80's talking about dementia and it refers to 'normal limits' as 500-1300 pg/ml. that works out to 370 pmol/l being the bottom of the normal range. my neuro said i was not deficient at 300, and my family doc says not deficient as low as 200 pmol/l.

personally i am happy when my b12 levels are maintained above 500 pmol/l.

second, i had heard about gingko biloba for some reason, and started taking it. i noticed an unexpected benefit, that being that i did not lose my train of thought so easily if i went off on a tangent in conversation. gingko is supposed to promote better blood flow in the brain, which from my angle, i thought would help deliver nutrients to tissues (i also did niacin flushes in support of the nutrient delivery idea).

my worst cognitive period almost lost me my drivers license when i told my neuro about it. during that time period i asked for some blood work including a zinc test. it was quite seriously deficient and when i corrected my zinc level, my cognitive issues cleared up nicely.

PUFAs (omega 3 fatty acids) are also important for cognition. i try to remember to take my daily fish oil but i'm a bit of a slacker since i keep the bottle in the fridge, and i aim to take it at bedtime when i am not likely to be in the kitchen.

right now, if i were to do a self assessment, i would say that i am probably losing things i was going to say to a small and intermittent degree that would likely be considered normal for my age, which is late 30s.

if i pull up my socks a bit on those fish oil pills, i imagine i can get back into top form though!

i hope this is useful information for you!
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:23 am

oh and try throwing this into google:

multiple sclerosis and cognitive dysfunction pubmed
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Postby bibliotekaren » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:19 pm


Yes, I certainly have cognitive deficits -- not glaring but they're there. I don't know about you but both my physical and mental abilities drop way off as I fatigue in the day. And, yes, it seems like more lists are required to complete complex sequential activities.

A friend from another forum is a big proponent of neurocognitive (sometimes called neuropsych) testing. So, I asked the Neuro about it she said she could arrange it and said it's quite common. My primary also recommended it and gave me a name. I'm going to do a bit more research before committing. I don't think either of these practitioners would have offered it though without me asking for it.

I hear that it's really important who does the testing. Although it's clearly standardized, there still is a fair amount of interpretation to it. Also, I'm a little concerned about this being in writing on my medical record.

But, having said that, I know for me I'd like to drill down to where I get caught or challenged and work on some techniques. Some folks have to worry about being bed-ridden, I'm concerned at times about being brain-ridden!

Not sure if this was an alley you were thinking of going down or helpful. But thought I'd toss it out there as it's on one of my lists! Take care.
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Postby bibliotekaren » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:39 pm

Here's a link to a decent overview of cognitive testing and rehab:
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Postby stormcat » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:17 am

I know exactly what you're talking about, Austin! I'm recovering from another bout of it right now. My onset of MS was really quite bad. Imagine being a graduate student who needs to read and comprehend 100s of pages of thick academic discourse every day only to suddenly not be able to understand the most basic concepts. Terrifying! I would sit there and read the same paragraph 20 times and still not understand it. I somehow got through it.

Subsequent relapses have also resulted in cognitive problems, but not quite as severe. Now it sort of comes up as apathy and disinterest. I hope that makes sense. It's as if the rest of my brain is making excuses for the illness by saying: "hey, you're not interested in this anyway. You just want to chill on the couch and watch TV."

I also stumble looking for the right word, and with my last relapse, I began stuttering. I still stutter, or trip over my words, which I usually just make into a little joke and people don't seem to think much about it.

I haven't tried any of the herbal suggestions others have mentioned, but I will look into that now.

Thank you for posting up about this, Austin. You're not alone in your frustration.
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Postby twistymirrors » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:26 am

I also have cognitive problems...not diagnosed yet but I notice a big problem with my speech since about comes ago but usually when its there it lasts a few problem is finding the right words, stuttering and long pauses between sentences because i cant think of what i want to say and how to say it...
I've said some really dumb day when my parents were going out for their anniversary dinner i told them to eat quack(instead of eat quick)...i dont even notice it till my mom laughs at me...the other day i completely screwed something up...i said i was going to chase something when I didnt want to chase anything...dont quite remember what i was going to say...
I cant remember things...someone will tell me to do something and on the way to doing it i forget...i also put things in the wrong milk in the cupboard, ice cream in the fridge and stuff that i use for baking in the wrong spots...even tho I know where they go. It's very frustrating...the neuro says that my speech could be a normal thing and when he tested my memory what he did was point to different things he was wearing and asked me what they were called...which i dont think is a real memory test...pees me off...
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Cognitive Impairment in MS

Postby VailKin » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:54 pm

In 2008 I had neuropsych testing.The neuropsych Dr explained my results as consistent with the types of impairment they see with MS, particularly with frontal lobe lesions. I had just had an MRI showing a new lesion on my frontal lobe. The neuropsych was not aware of this MRI.

He dxd me with executive function abnormalities (response inhibition, mental flexibility, sustained attention/concentraion) along with lower than IQ expectancy verbal learning and variably efficient visual memory. Basically I can no longer multitask, it takes me ages to learn new things, my memory sucks, I can't find words, I stutter, and I don't think very well on my feet.

After giving me this rather scary news, he sent me off to a speech language pathology person who taught me all kinds of techniques for dealing with my lost brain and speech impediments. I'm don't function quite as well as I used to but I have a bunch of tools to use to deal with my lack of brain.

I strongly recommend this kind of testing and therapy. It takes time and a certain level of commitment to doing the exercises but it makes a great difference.

I'm really lucky with my current neuro. My first neuro, who dxd my in 1994, told me not to worry bc MS wouldn't affect my ability to think and was not painful. Not all neuros know better yet but here are some who do.

Best of luck!
Dxd 1994 RRMS, 2008 SPMS
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Postby Villagemom » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:39 pm

I suffer from the cognitive problems. Work has been a nightmare. My primary function is to gather information, simple analysis and work with various programs within my organization. Trying analysing when you can't even remember what happened 10 minutes ago. So I have taken a break from work. I don't even want to get into the problems this has caused.

My son used to be surprised when I forgot something. Now he is surprised when I remember. What a change a year can make.

I would love to have the neuropsych testing done. Having such a strong diagnosis would go a long way to having my company pay for my sick leave.

Anyways, it has been a long day and I'm exhausted. I will definitely be going back to provide additional comments on this topic; but not until I am more rested up.
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i have terrible problems with face recognition

Postby joanp » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:17 am

I find my biggest problem is face recognition. I don't know if anyone else experiences this.

i know that everyone has a problem remembering a face or a name. but i know for me (and hubby knows this all too well), it takes forever for me to get someone into what i call my memory bank.

it is not that i forget those that i know well. but here is how it goes...

yesterday, some man in our village was honking his horn at me and waving away and smiling. had no clue who he was....and like i happens far too often to be of the normal variety.

a month or so ago, some couple in our village stopped to chat to me and even knew my dogs names.....did not have a clue who they were but they knew me by name and wondered how my horse was doing.

and then yesterday, i was in the village store and saw a younger guy smiling at me....had no clue who he was.....but then when i went outside i saw a white truck and a small dog and then realized the guy in there must be my neighbor. i have talked to him multiple times but i can't recognize him if i can't associate him by his house. he is not yet in my memory bank.

it is so bad that if i think i may meet a person more than once, i tell them that if they see me in town, they will have to tell me who they are and how i know them or i am unlikely to remember them. it takes forever to get them into what i call my memory bank. once they r in my memory bank, then i will normally recognize them after a few seconds. it is so frustrating to have that happen all the time.

anyone else experience facial recognition problems like that? again - i don't forget those already in my memory bank but trying to get new people in there is difficult. sometimes i will recognize a person if i see them by the place i associate them like their house or a store. but if i see them outside that identifying location, i have to be reminded who they are. some may make it into my memory bank but for many to get there, it seems an arduous task.

my husband always says...don't u remember them??? and nope - i don't.
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re: face recognition

Postby ThisIsMA » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:27 am

Hi Joanp,

Wow, I just read your post, and your difficulty with face recognition sounds a lot like mine!

Thanks for the very clear description of what its like. I also tell people when I first meet them "you may have to reintroduce yourself to me next time we meet, it takes me a while to recognize faces".

Its a very frustrating (and socially isolating) problem. It hadn't occured to me till I read your post that this is probably the result of MS. I've had this problem for a number of years, but was only diagnosed with MS a year and a half ago. Of course I also I had other MS symptoms prior to diagnosis too. And like you, once I get the person into my face memory bank, then I recognize them no problem. It just seems to take much longer to get them there.

Wikipedia has a page about this, the condition has a scientific name "Prosopagnosia", and a common name "face blindness". Apparently it can be inborn or the result of neurological damage or disease, and can vary in degree. Its an interesting article. Here's the link:

Mary Ann
DX 6-09 RRMS
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Postby tabi » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:42 pm

Hi Austin,

Wow, can I totally relate to exactly what you wrote. Good luck to you.
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Re: Cognitive/Mental symptoms

Postby billiechic » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:25 pm

HI everyone.

I've just joined here, though I have just reached my 10 yr diagnosis.
The cognitive problems you are describing I have been suffereing from for the past 3 years. They started out quite mild, and seemed to be linked to time when I was feeling very tired and needed lots of sleep. Once I "caught up" the problems would resolve.

Unfortunately over the past 3 months they seem to have become permanent, whereas before they would last days to a few weeks. Some days are worse (like today) where I feel like I can't retain anything, and I have to reread things over and over and still don't understand.

Quite humilating for someone just completeing a Masters degree and 10 years of work. I am at the point where I am doing report writing, statistical analysis and project planning, all things which I am having huge challenges with. I don't know how to discuss this with my manager and HR, but I need job duty modifications or else I may need time off or a career change. They stress of not being able to use my most valued asset (my intelligence) is horrible.

One thing I did want to point out. The commuication and creative process of writing or speaking from experience has not been affected (as demonstrated here as my ability to post). It is the creative thinking process or writing scientific papers and problem solving (like walking into a soft wall)that suffers most. Therefore I am hoping to move towards teaching (environmental science at the college level), as it can be drawn from my experience :)
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Re: Cognitive/Mental symptoms

Postby jimmylegs » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:53 am

so, nearly 2 years after my last post on this thread, i must say that i have not noticed any cognitive issues recently. i can keep track of everything, don't lose my train of thought, everything's good. i have been behaving myself with my supplements, including fish oil, and i work hard to stay hydrated (even though hydration has always been a personal challenge). from my own experience, b-complex, vitamin d3, magnesium, zinc, and fish oil all lend themselves well to helping cognitive issues and ms issues in general. there's a lot of science out there backing those up too. hth!
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Re: Cognitive/Mental symptoms

Postby SpitFire » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:43 am

I have been having the same issues, it's etremely hard being a student. I went from getting 80's last year to this year barely passing my classes, as well as many other symptoms that I have started having in the last year. I can't function later at night, I get into what I call "fogs" and as much as I understand something during the day when going to write my exams later in the evening I apparently can't remember any of it.

I'm still technically in a limbo where they are unsure if I have MS, the neuro thought that there is a small possibility it could be a combo of 2 other things but is leaning more to MS. Of all the symptoms that I have had the cognitive problems have been the worst in my mind because of having ADD as well I have always had slight difficulties but never anything that I could not work with or around to suddenly not even the techniques I have use in the past working.

I do want to thank everyone who has put some tips on there, as I think that I will be trying them so that I can save my undergrad degree.
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