Good News! Fibro-Fog Does Not Lead to Alzheimer's
One of the most frustrating symptoms most fibromyalgia patients experience is fibro-fog. Fibro-fog is the name we use to describe a variety of cognitive impairments such as forgetfulness, memory lapses, an inability to concentrate, confusion, transposing numbers or words, getting lost in familiar places and difficulty communicating effectively.
Often FM patients are afraid these cognitive problems will progress into Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. To find out if this was the case, researchers conducted a study to determine if the cognitive impairment of fibromyalgia progresses over time. The findings were presented in an abstract for the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting.
Study Design and Results
Researchers evaluated cognitive disparities on 14 neurocognitive measures in two groups of people with fibromyalgia. The first group consisted of 69 FM patients who had experienced cognitive problems for one year or less. The second group was made up of 39 FM patients who had experienced cognitive problems for seven years or more.
No significant differences were found between the two groups. Measures of episodic memory and processing speed, markers of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, were in the normal range for both groups.
Study authors concluded, "Fibromyalgia patients’ fear of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia was not borne out by the data. Duration of cognitive problems was not a determiner of cognitive severity…The fact that individuals suffering cognitive dysfunction from 7 to 26 years did not exhibit a broad based deficit relative to those suffering cognitive dysfunction for a duration of a year of less should allay the worries of many with fibromyalgia who fear that fibrofog in the middle years is the start of a dementing process."
This is great news for anyone who has been concerned about this issue. If you have been worried about fibro-fog leading to some form of dementia, I hope this study is encouraging and brings you some peace of mind.
I’d like to know your thoughts. Have you been worried about your cognitive problems leading to Alzheimer’s or dementia? If so, does this study help put your mind at ease?
Karen is the Co-Founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association. She wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Pain Management.