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It's All a Bit Frayed
 

Back of two cartoon characters sitting on a sofa watching a TV show showing a neuron with and a pointer to the myelin sheathIn MS, damage to myelin around signalling cells in the nervous system means that messages can slow down or get a bit garbled. This can result in visual disturbance, pain, muscle weakness and odd sensations. MS lesions can also slow down your ability to process information or affect your ability to pay attention and they can make it harder to remember or to prioritise your thoughts. In fact, about 50% of people with MS will experience one or two cognitive symptoms.

This means that cognitive impairment is not inevitable with MS or ageing. In fact, there is no direct, hard-and-fast relationship between the pathology (lesions) in a person’s brain and the impact that it has on that person’s cognitive function. The really interesting thing is that some people can tolerate more changes or lesions than others and still retain cognitive function. Scientific research suggests that there are things that you can do to maximise your cognitive function for as long as possible and minimise the impact of lesions. There are also strategies that you can adopt to optimise functioning if you are already experiencing symptoms.

People with MS can experience cognitive impairment in several cognitive domains but usually only one or two are affected, and severe decline in general cognitive function is extremely rare. The cognitive domains that can be affected are; memory, attention, language and the ability process information, regulate behaviour and the ability to see and process visual information.

Back to Cognition 101

 
 
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