I have cognitive issues. Cognition refers to a whole range of different intellectual processes our brains undertake to perform tasks and keep us functional. An easy way to understand cognition is to think of it in terms of memory and thinking.
Cognitive Dysfunction is one of the more scary symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. It used to be thought that cognitive dysfunction was a relatively rare symptom of the disease but it is now understood to be quite a common feature. There is no single description which fully encompasses the term, 'cognitive dysfunction'. It really applies to a whole range of problems and issues associated with, and related to, intellectual functioning.
Memory Dysfunction is the most commonly reported cognitive dysfunction in MS and occurs in 20 to 44% of people with MS. The type of memory problem most often reported is in recalling recently learned material. Free recall is the ability to get to a memory instantly - MS rarely seems to affect a person's ability to get items into the memory banks - just our ability to get it out "right now". What also does not appear to be compromised very often is a person's ability to understand and learn new concepts nor the speed at which they do so.
Verbal fluency is affected in some people with MS whereas verbal comprehension appears undamaged. Verbal fluency deficits usually take the form of slowed free recall of words that describe concepts and less often words that name objects.
Cognitive Fatigue. On average, people with MS tire more quickly during psychological tests and often start off matching control subjects but their performance trails off as the test progresses.
Impaired Planning Skills. One study reported that 40% of people with MS are less able to plan things than healthy people.So, if your MS friend looks at you one day with a blank stare like they don’t know you, they may not…….or at least not your name!