I Need Help...with My Memory...mri Says My Brain Is Fine...


Asked by Tedesa

I Need Help...with My Memory...mri Says My Brain Is Fine...


Please can someone help me or give me information how I can get through this problem of being in the fog, not remembering, being afraid to try anything new because I might not remember...I'm on disability because I was in a psyche ward 3 times....I attempted suicide twice...The first time I took myself to a psyche ward because I wasn't feeling right, that was quite a few years ago...the 2nd and 3rd time happened in 2007 within a 4 week period...I have been fighting to hang on to my life...alot of people don't see it that way, but that's a whole other story...I am on Wellbutrin Sr, Ritalin, Synthroid, Ativan and Omega 3's....My nervousness is out of control and times and I know I dwell on the negative....All day long I am focusing on trying to remember what I am hearing or seeing...Things have been repeated to me over and over and I still can't remember....I AM SO AFRAID THAT ONE DAY I AM GONNA FEEL SO INADEQUATE AND STUPID AND WORTHLESS THAT I AM GOING TO TRY TO TAKE MY LIFE....I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR HELP THROUGH DR.'S BUT NOTHING HAS HELPED. I know alot of it is my fear, so I haven't pushed myself as much as I should.. Even cooking is a chore. I have a very strained relationship with my 16 year old...she is very verbally abusive at times, but she is 16...I'm going through a divorce, I lost my son almost a year ago, I lost my job of 11 years...it was the only thing I was really good at...Can someone help me or lead me to something where maybe I can relearn things. Build up my confidence....There is so much to tell, but I would never get to work..Yes, I work two days a week at a gas station...A good friend of mine hired me, she wanted me to get out of the house...Is there a hotline for people like me...I WANT TO LIVE, LAUGH, LEARN, REMEMBER, HAVE A FUTURE, BE LOVED....IS IT THE MEDICINE WHAT DO I DO...Any information would be greatly appreciated...I s there something the MRI maybe didn't see??????????? Thanks in advance, Tedesa


Hi, Tedesa. Congratulations on your MRI clean bill of health. We now know it isn't the hardware, and that's major. Our hardware doesn't come with replacement parts, so you have something to be grateful for.

So we are talking software or operating system problems. These are far more subtle.

Let's put it this way: Brain scans are good tools for neurologists. If you have a cyst or a lesion in the brain, an MRI will pick it up and a neurologist can discuss your options, which may involve surgery. A brain scan can also pick up Alzheimer's, but that's about as subtle as it gets.

Brain scans are not yet sophisticated enough to pick up random problems in various brain pathways. Not in a clinical setting, anyway. If, for instance, your dopamine isn't getting through from one part of the brain to the other, an MRI isn't about to pick this up - not unless a researcher is specifically looking for this, and maybe even not then.

A general rule of thumb: If the brain problem is obvious, it's a neurological disorder. If it's not obvious, it's a psychiatric disorder. As soon as the problem moves from mysterious to obvious, the neurologists tend to take over from the psychiatrists.

This is one reason psychiatry is so difficult. Psychiatry is all about the "too-hard" basket.

From this and previous questions, you are talking about a clear cognition problem, one with no obvious brain structure origin. So let's hunt for other suspects:

Dopamine system: Dopamine plays a major role in cognition. Think of thought and feeling coming together: Pleasure and reward, anticipation, motivation, alertness, stimulation, excitement, etc. If the dopamine is down, you are down. Antipsychotics block dopamine, which may worsen your cognition while preventing psychosis. Possible solution, dopamine enhancers: ADD meds, Parkinsons meds, methamphetamine, Provigil, and (to a lesser extent) MAOIs and Wellbutrin.

Glutamate system: Responsible for excitability in neurons. Benzos and mood stabilizers tend to work on GABA, which modulates glutamate. Possible solution: New mood stabilizer strategy.

Cholenergic system: Conncected with acetycholine system (don't ask). Breakdown in these systems are associated with dementia and Alzheimers. Possible solution: Alzheimer's meds. Also, vitamin therapy may help.

Fatigue: Fatigue clearly affects cognition. Wakefulness agents such as amphetamines and Provigil may help, but if the problem is lack of sleep then only getting decent sleep will help. Often, a short nap will "reboot" the brain, but this is often not practical if you are at work or need to meet deadlines. In which case, working to get 8 hours of consolidated sleep is a priority.

Sleep disorder: This may be the root of your problems. If your sleep is messed up, everything else is going to be messed up - mood, cognition, everything. I would strongly suggest an overnight sleep test. Chances are you will be very surprised at the results. For instance, sleep apnea (where the breathing passage is obstructed) is the cause of untold interrupted sleep. Breathing through a special mask at night often solves the problem. If you wake up with a clear head after trying this, then you may be on your way.

These possibilities may or may not apply to you. You may have investigated them already. My point is don't give up. Hopefully, you're working with a doc who is not afraid to think outside the box, and isn't afraid to consider off-label meds use.

Be hopeful. You have a sound brain. You just need to apply the right tweak to the software.

Hope this helps -

Answered by John McManamy