It has been said across the internet that “we only use 10% of our brain.” If you’ve ever walked into a room only to forget why you were there, you might agree. Generally speaking, most scientists now seem to agree that we use every part of our brain, but we may only use 10% of total brain function at one time. Brain function, cognition, and the way we process information is still one of the biggest mysteries of the human body that scientists are actively trying to unravel and understand.
One of those mysteries that scientists and researchers are trying to better understand, is how brain function and cognition are affected by chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis. Approximately half of all individuals with MS experience some kind of cognitive issues as a result of their disease. Most often, these cognitive issues affect:
- Attention span
- Speed-of-information processing
It can be difficult to measure the impact of cognitive issues, as there is no way to establish a baseline for everyone. Researchers are still looking into the best ways to evaluate cognitive deficits for individuals with MS, since MS can affect each person in different ways. Depending on where lesions are in a person’s brain, can affect the type and severity of the cognitive issues they are experiencing.
While there are not currently any medications or disease-modifying therapies that target cognitive function, there are strategies available for people experiencing cognitive issues. From brain games, to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, to extensive note-taking, each strategy is designed for specific brain functions affected by MS.
To learn more about these options and for more information about cognitive issues, take a look at our cover story from the Winter/Spring 2015 edition of The Motivator, Cognitive Issues with MS: Research, Strategies, and Support.