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    Cognitive neuropsych test - good idea or not?

    Hi everyone,

    Since my last flare I have lasting cognitive dysfunction. I feel like I am speaking really slowly because I have to search in my brain to find words, although my closest family members say I sound the same. I have a difficult time understanding information. I can usually follow ok when I am talking to someone one on one, but when there is noise in the background or I am in a big crowd I can't follow at all so I just smile and nod. The most difficult part comes with following directions, multi-tasking, or doing anything that is not part of my normal routine. I don't think people pick up on it even though it is devastating to me. I used to consider myself a smart person and now I can't trust myself at all. This is especially concerning regarding work.

    My neurologist recommended a cognitive evaluation performed by neuropsych. This test is almost six hours long. I was told it would be good to have on file in case I ever need to file disability (not anything I would do yet). My question is...do you think it is worth it? I am concerned that my "problems" would not show up in a test when I am in a quiet environment that does not mimic the real world. Or what if the test does show problems and my doctor doesn't want me to work? Has anyone had experience with this and have you found the test helpful? Any tips for dealing with cognitive issues? Thanks in advance

    #2
    "MSologsists now have a responsibility for protecting the brains of their patients so that they maintain their cognitive reserves for later on in life when they have to face the ravages of ageing."

    This was not the quote I was looking for but it stresses a shared point. We do undergo cognitive decline due to ms which has obvious and not so obvious consequences.

    The quote I was looking for in the blog read that it is OUR responsibility to keep our brain reserve at its highest. DMT's do their job but we can do many things as well.

    Please go to http://multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.com/ and search for cognitive function or cognitive reserve. In fact today's post reads: Neuroprotection from ECTRIMS2016. But a search of your topic will produce many important articles

    Exercise, intellectually-enriching activities, 'use it or lose it' attitude, are encouraging points and studies have shown they can increase or maintain your cognitive function.

    Here's my favorite topic I'm always harping about: "Brain Age Study: A pilot study to assess the feasibility of using computerized games in cognitive training of patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment " The studies on ms patients showed that this brain training game has proven positive affects on several areas of our cognition. Processing speed, executive function, others.

    The hardest games challenge your working memory - where deficits in this area can cause the slowness and inability to engage successfully in executive tasks. And speed of your working memory. The game was developed by a neurologist to address some specific areas of cognitive decline.

    There is so much to read regarding cognitive function and ms - and the act of researching and reading articles is itself good for the brain.

    And don't forget nintendo's "Brain Age" game. And work as long as you can, mix up routines - they numb the brain, socialize, hobbies, exercise... stay engaged.

    I took a neuropsych test early around my diagnosis to have a baseline. I believe it will be prescribed more as doctors start focusing on brain volume loss and cognitive effects. It's one more way to score your treatment plan and (more in the future I believe) lead to dmt changes that address cognitive symptoms.

    Good luck and stay mentally and physically active! As much as you can - to get the most benefits.

    Comment


      #3
      Coconut milk

      Hi Doglover
      This is my first response on this site to anyone as I'm still new here and was DX'd in late 2014. I read about coconut milk being good for the brain and saw it suggested in a book on diet for MS sufferers. I get that same "foggy" condition you describe and tried a small glass of coconut milk each day and after about a week it cleared out the cob-webs in my brain. I've done it long enough now to miss having it a few different times of a few days each time and each time i have , the fog comes back. As soon as I start drinking the c. milk again it usually only takes a couple days to get more back to my old self again, mentally. It won't hurt to try. Good luck!

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for your detailed response

        Originally posted by sardi_g View Post
        "MSologsists now have a responsibility for protecting the brains of their patients so that they maintain their cognitive reserves for later on in life when they have to face the ravages of ageing."

        This was not the quote I was looking for but it stresses a shared point. We do undergo cognitive decline due to ms which has obvious and not so obvious consequences.

        The quote I was looking for in the blog read that it is OUR responsibility to keep our brain reserve at its highest. DMT's do their job but we can do many things as well.

        Please go to http://multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.com/ and search for cognitive function or cognitive reserve. In fact today's post reads: Neuroprotection from ECTRIMS2016. But a search of your topic will produce many important articles

        Exercise, intellectually-enriching activities, 'use it or lose it' attitude, are encouraging points and studies have shown they can increase or maintain your cognitive function.

        Here's my favorite topic I'm always harping about: "Brain Age Study: A pilot study to assess the feasibility of using computerized games in cognitive training of patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment " The studies on ms patients showed that this brain training game has proven positive affects on several areas of our cognition. Processing speed, executive function, others.

        The hardest games challenge your working memory - where deficits in this area can cause the slowness and inability to engage successfully in executive tasks. And speed of your working memory. The game was developed by a neurologist to address some specific areas of cognitive decline.

        There is so much to read regarding cognitive function and ms - and the act of researching and reading articles is itself good for the brain.

        And don't forget nintendo's "Brain Age" game. And work as long as you can, mix up routines - they numb the brain, socialize, hobbies, exercise... stay engaged.

        I took a neuropsych test early around my diagnosis to have a baseline. I believe it will be prescribed more as doctors start focusing on brain volume loss and cognitive effects. It's one more way to score your treatment plan and (more in the future I believe) lead to dmt changes that address cognitive symptoms.

        Good luck and stay mentally and physically active! As much as you can - to get the most benefits.
        Thank you so much, I appreciate you taking the time to provide me with some answers. I checked out that blog and it appears to be very informative. With my current cognitive issues it is a little much for me to handle right now as I can't understand everything I read. I will definitely save a link to that blog for use in the future. Have a great day!

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks Mac!

          Originally posted by mac009 View Post
          Hi Doglover
          This is my first response on this site to anyone as I'm still new here and was DX'd in late 2014. I read about coconut milk being good for the brain and saw it suggested in a book on diet for MS sufferers. I get that same "foggy" condition you describe and tried a small glass of coconut milk each day and after about a week it cleared out the cob-webs in my brain. I've done it long enough now to miss having it a few different times of a few days each time and each time i have , the fog comes back. As soon as I start drinking the c. milk again it usually only takes a couple days to get more back to my old self again, mentally. It won't hurt to try. Good luck!
          It's very interesting that coconut milk helped you. I suppose it is something that can't hurt! I am always open to natural remedies. Do you remember which book you read? I am always curious about the link between diet and MS. I currently can't retain and understand information when I read for longer than 5-10 minutes but I would be interested in the future. I hope this message finds you well and welcome to the MS world community!

          Comment


            #6
            I do think neuropsychology tests are a good idea and have had them a few times.

            It will help give a baseline, detect issues, and potentially help us develop compensating strategies. It can also let you know if changes are normal for age group.

            I can relate to your struggles. It is frustrating when you notice things, but others don't. My doc had said that for "high functioning individuals", the smallest level of change seems drastic, but most won't notice. He also said that we are also so in tune to any changes.

            I have had focus and memory issues that started with a pre-diagnosis episode in 1993. Unfortunately, I never had IQ or other tests prior to get true baseline. But having one at diagnosis and other points in my MS journey did help support my disability claim when I needed to file later.

            An area of recent research is focusing on neuroplasticity, which is the ability for the brain to rewire itself around damaged areas. I recently completed a Five week program of 1 hour computer based exercises geared toward helping improve focus and memory. There were tests along the way, so I could see the improvement along the way.

            Six months later, still same level of improvement. Drastic, no. But I can now follow recipes, remember more. But like you, need quiet. Any distraction, forget it. It was interesting that during the exercises, if phone rang or the dog barked, the performance change could be seen and lasted a good 15 minutes until I could focus again!

            As mentioned above, building cognitive reserve is a big focus too. Aerobic exercise and activities that challenge more than one sense at a time (like learning/playing instrument, learning/speaking a new language) are good. I was told that doing puzzles like crossword, Sudoko, help maintain, but won't help improve. I have visual-spatial deficits so putting together picture puzzles, learning knots, etc... Are good for that.

            Good luck.
            Kathy
            DX 01/06, currently on Tysabri

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by pennstater View Post
              I do think neuropsychology tests are a good idea and have had them a few times.

              It will help give a baseline, detect issues, and potentially help us develop compensating strategies. It can also let you know if changes are normal for age group.

              I can relate to your struggles. It is frustrating when you notice things, but others don't. My doc had said that for "high functioning individuals", the smallest level of change seems drastic, but most won't notice. He also said that we are also so in tune to any changes.

              I have had focus and memory issues that started with a pre-diagnosis episode in 1993. Unfortunately, I never had IQ or other tests prior to get true baseline. But having one at diagnosis and other points in my MS journey did help support my disability claim when I needed to file later.

              An area of recent research is focusing on neuroplasticity, which is the ability for the brain to rewire itself around damaged areas. I recently completed a Five week program of 1 hour computer based exercises geared toward helping improve focus and memory. There were tests along the way, so I could see the improvement along the way.

              Six months later, still same level of improvement. Drastic, no. But I can now follow recipes, remember more. But like you, need quiet. Any distraction, forget it. It was interesting that during the exercises, if phone rang or the dog barked, the performance change could be seen and lasted a good 15 minutes until I could focus again!

              As mentioned above, building cognitive reserve is a big focus too. Aerobic exercise and activities that challenge more than one sense at a time (like learning/playing instrument, learning/speaking a new language) are good. I was told that doing puzzles like crossword, Sudoko, help maintain, but won't help improve. I have visual-spatial deficits so putting together picture puzzles, learning knots, etc... Are good for that.

              Good luck.
              Thank you for your response, Kathy. It sounds like we have similar cognitive issues. It is nice to know there are other people out there who can relate, although I'm sorry that anyone has to go through this.

              I have had MS for 15 years and always considered myself an intelligent person so this is something very new and scary for me. I relate to what your doctor says about our cognitive difficulties being very apparent to us but not to others. I wish I had a baseline cognitive evaluation, but I do think I will move forward with the cognitive testing.

              Have a great day!

              Comment


                #8
                Book title for coconut milk

                The book that I read is "The Wahl's Protocol". It's got a lot of info in it about MS and diet in it. The author is a Dr. that has MS and her mother also had it as well. She recommends full fat coconut milk, which probably is better but that comes in cans and is harder for me to deal with as my hands don't work all that well. I get the Silk brand original, not the "low-fat" as you want as much fat as possible in it. It comes in the paper carton with the plastic pour spout, which is easier for me to deal with. It is a good sized book, but don't let that intimidate you. You don't have to read all the technical info to get benefit from the dietary advice. I skipped a good portion of that as I was going through it, just looked for the things I could reasonably do and the easiest, fastest, and cheaper things I could start doing right away. I hope this helps and thanks for the welcome to the site!

                Comment

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