Saturday, March 20, 2010

Finding the Files

Tim writes: My wife taught me how to make hard boiled eggs a couple of days ago. I know this isn’t that hard a task, but I have difficulty finding the files in my brain to complete the steps in the right order. If I would boil eggs every day, the steps would probably stick with me, but I don’t eat that many eggs!

Janet writes: Tim talks about finding the files in his brain whenever he is learning something new. We acquired this term from a couple of different medical professionals who spoke to our local MS support group about cognitive symptoms and MS. Both speakers were answering questions about the cognitive symptoms of MS vs. the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

These speakers compared the brain to a library or a computer hard drive. When you have cognitive symptoms with MS, all your files are still intact on your hard drive. It becomes more difficult to open up those files or store new files, but with time, practice, and adaptations like written reminders, you can still open those files and retrieve the data. Retrieval does become more difficult if cognitive symptoms advance, but they usually stay stable if your MS is managed overall. In Alzheimer’s disease, the files gradually become corrupted and you can’t open them. Advanced cognitive symptoms in MS can resemble Alzheimer’s, but the mechanisms involved in the progression of these diseases are not quite the same.

Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about your MS cognitive symptoms turning into something similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Most people who have cognitive symptoms with MS stay fairly stable with their cognitive functioning. I am not sure how much research has been done comparing MS cognitive symptoms and Alzheimer’s disease, especially concerning primary or secondary progressive MS. If anyone would like to comment on this topic, we would really appreciate it!

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    Good topic that I have not really seen many bloggers write about much.

    Sequencing and multi-tasking are the biggest problems for me. Sensory overload ie to much going on around me makes it worse.

    I like the computer drive files analogy. I have always described my hunting for information like walking around in a giant library looking for a book without the dewey decimal number.

    Some-days there is a librarian hanging around to help and other well . ...