Beginners Guide to MS

Multiple Sclerosis: Cognitive Dysfunction

What Is Cognitive Dysfunction?

"I looked at the sheet of paper in front of me. I had been doing the same calculations for years and suddenly, nothing on the paper made any sense to me. My mind was a blank."

There is no single description which fully encompasses the term, 'cognitive dysfunction'. It really applies to a whole raft of different problems and issues associated with and related to; intellectual functioning.

What is Cognition?

As a general description, you can think of cognition as applying to memory and thinking. More specifically, cognition describes the way our brains:

  • Think, reason and solve problems
  • Focus, maintain and divide attention (concentrate)
  • Learn and remember new things
  • Plan, carry out, and regulate our own activities
  • Recognize things, assemble or group things together, and judge distances
  • Understand and use language

Cognitive Difficulties

Time to introduce some of the difficulties, other than brain fog and memory problems, which can occur with multiple sclerosis:

  • Verbal fluency and language skills can be impaired
  • Intellectual reasoning can be impaired
  • Inability to learn quickly
  • Poor problem solving abilities
  • Information processing can be slowed
  • Poor concentration

Sounds like a bad report card, huh?

Most of the cognitive problems listed tend to happen at different times and usually not all at once, and, the good news is that the majority of people who experience cognitive problems will only have relatively minor difficulties requiring (mostly) minor adjustments.

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