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Dec 12, 2009

Understanding Brain Fog
From, written by By Adrienne Dellwo
You can't find the right word. You can't remember how to get to the store. You forget having ever watched certain movies. Multi-tasking? Forget it! Brain fog is a tough thing to live with, but you may be able to fight it.
Brain fog (a.k.a. fibro fog, cognitive dysfunction) doesn't get enough respect and attention from the medical world, in my opinion. I know it's had a bigger impact on my ability to hold a traditional job and to write from home than any of my other symptoms have had. I can deal with pain -- heck, sometimes I write better when I'm really hurting because I have to focus more -- but I can't write through the fog!
This single symptom of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome can make people unable to keep a job, drive a car, cook for themselves, maintain relationships and more.
And yet our doctors don't know how to treat it, our researchers don't seem all that interested in it, and it's hard to find much information on how to live with and possibly improve it.
What Causes Brain Fog?
We don't yet know exactly what causes cognitive dysfunction but we have a lot of theories about possible contributing factors, including:
-- Lack of restorative sleep
-- Abnormal cranial blood flow or volume
-- Brain abnormalities
-- Premature brain aging
- Mental distraction due to pain
In FMS, brain fog generally is worse when pain is worse. In both FMS and ME/CFS, it can be exacerbated when you're anxious, rushed, or dealing with sensory overload. Depression, which is common in FMS and ME/CFS, also is associated with cognitive dysfunction. Some studies, however, show that the severity of brain f
og is not correlated with depression symptoms.
A lot of common medications for FMS and ME/CFS can contribute to brain fog as well
Common brain-fog supplements include:
N.B. Only use the following with your doctor's permission
•5-HTP •B vitamins •Carnitine •Choline •Omega-3 (Fish Oil) •Rhodiola •St. John's Wort •SAM-e •Theanine
Brain friendly foods:
•Fish (Omega-3) •Canola or walnut oil (Omega-3) •Eggs (Choline) •Fruits & vegetables •Carbohydrates
Brain Fog Symptoms 
Word use & recall: Difficulty recalling known words, use of incorrect words, slow recall of names.
Short-term memory problems: Forgetfulness, inability to remember what's read or heard.
Directional disorientation: Not recognizing familiar surroundings, easily becoming lost, having trouble recalling where things are.
Multitasking difficulties: Inability to pay attention to more than one thing, forgetfulness of original task when distracted.
Confusion & trouble concentrating Trouble processing information, easily distracted.
Math/number difficulties: Difficulty performing simple math, remembering sequences, transposing numbers, trouble remembering numbers.
Some people may also have other types of cognitive dysfunction.
Brain Fog & Learning Disorders
- problems are similar to those associated with disorders such as dyslexia (reading problems), dysphasia (speaking problems) and dyscalculia (math/time/spatial problems).
If you believe you could have a recognized learning disorder, talk to your doctor. A diagnosis could help you get reasonable accommodation at work under or strengthen a disability benefits claim.

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Posted: Dec 12, 2009 5:19pm


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Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
Eastlakes, SW, Australia
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