Those of us with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia are familiar with "brain fog" or what medical professionals like to call cognitive dysfunction. Although on occasion I experience brain fog from fibromyalgia, it wasn't until I sustained a migraine varient/complicated migraine in '06 and again in '08 that I could truly appreciate what these people go through; that is because this is what happens to me for days after I experience a migraine. It isn't often talked about in relationship to migraines so I wanted to bring it up here.
*Brain fog is a classic part of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia(and an after affect of some migraines)
Horrible short-term memory,
Difficulty with word finding and word substitution (e.g., substituting the word "fork" for "knife"), and
Occasional disorientation — Approximately 30 percent of those with CFS or fibromyalgia have episodic disorientation lasting around 30-60 seconds. This often occurs when driving or even turning down a supermarket aisle. It can feel scary, but is not dangerous. Though you may not know where you are (or are going) people seem able to drive or walk safely till it passes. This can also manifest as briefly not recognizing common objects or names (even of children).
In some cases, brain fog is mild. For some, however, it can be severe and quite scary — especially in professionals who otherwise function at a very high level. Though standard testing will often not pick up the problem, in these cases the brain fog can make it difficult or even impossible to continue one's job. It may even leave you concerned that you are developing Alzheimer's. But you're not. CFS brain fog is when you keep forgetting where you left your keys — Alzheimer's is when you forget how to use your keys!
... Study Showing CFS-Related Brain Fog Not "All In Your Head"
Meanwhile, the "you're crazy, it's all in your mind" school of thought on CFS continues to recede into ancient history. There were those who attributed the brain fog (and all of CFS) to depression — which was, well, crazy! Here is another new study showing that the brain fog of CFS and depression are not related.
Study: The role of depression in cognitive impairment in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome
In the test, 57 women with CFS were evaluated for cognitive function using neuropsychological tests that measure mental acuity in areas such as ability to pay attention, to count forward and backward, auditory-verbal learning skills, executive functions, and psychomotor skills.
Participants were divided into two groups, with one group including those CFS patients who suffered depression (based on clinical assessment to determine scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and the other including those CFS patients who were not determined to be depressed.
The results showed no difference between the two groups in their levels of cognitive deficit in performing attention and executive functions. Researchers therefore concluded that there was no link between depression and the cognitive impairments exhibited by patients with CFS.