Feeling Your Way Through MS Brain Fog

Debi Wilson avatar

by Debi Wilson |

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multiple sclerosis brain fog


Thinking has become my second job. Never have I had to put so much effort into gathering my thoughts or comprehending the world around me as I do with MS. To say MS has changed my life in so many ways is an understatement!

Of all of my MS symptoms, MS brain fog is right at the top of the list, beside my walking difficulties and fatigue. Symptoms of brain fog include (but are not limited to): a lack of concentration, slow comprehension, memory loss, and (my all-time favorite) my mind going blank mid-sentence during a conversation.

Known clinically as “cognitive changes,” brain fog, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is caused by a “loss of myelin around nerve fibers [which] can cause difficulty with transporting memories to storage areas of the brain or retrieving them from storage areas.” In spite of the fact that that this loss of myelin directly leads to the symptoms associated with brain fog, the NMSS also notes that cognitive rehabilitation can aid in reducing the condition.

I was very glad to read that my brain can be retrained and curiously continued researching the web to find out how.

Several health resources, including the NMSS, recommend that you see your doctor first to address any related issues  that you may have, such as depression, sleep issues, or fatigue, as correcting these issues may help clear the fog.

Keeping lists and your calendar up to date, working online puzzles, researching on the internet, reading, and anything that keeps your mind active are all great suggestions!

Memory loss is a problem for me. One issue I have is trouble remembering peoples names that are new to me, so I attach their name to a cartoon character or a famous person. Example: if someone’s name is Homer I equate that person’s name to Homer Simpson. That helps me remember the name the next time I see that person. Plus, it is fun to say, “Oh there’s Homer Simpson.” As long as I don’t slip up and say it to someone’s face!

Brain fog is another inconvenient symptom of MS, but being aware and proactive can help us improve our quality of life!

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Judy Lynn avatar

Judy Lynn

Great post! I struggle with the 'fog' when I am fatigued. Which is often, unfortunately. I had neuropsychological testing which looks at different areas of cognitive and memory function. It can really help to pinpoint which areas you are struggling with and may need some extra support. "Word-finding" was a problem for me, so then I was able to look for tips and tricks specific to that.
What do you do/say when your mind goes blank mid-sentence? That happens to me and I hate it! I struggle with how to handle it.

Debi Wilson avatar

Debi Wilson

Thanks Judy! I usually just joke about it and laugh. It is still embarrassing!????
I agree, research and finding tips that work really helps!

Cheryl avatar


Love your column on brain fog! A very clear explanation of this ms symptom. I'm going to print this column and keep a copy in my purse to explain myself in embarrassing situations when my words escape me. (Such as when I confronted the tow truck driver who was towing away my car when my disabilty parking ticket had fallen off the window!)
Thank you. Cheryl

Myriah Benjamin avatar

Myriah Benjamin

I'm only 36 and I unfortunately spend majority of my time sleeping or having head pain. As a mother of 4 girls ranging from 3 to 14 O find my in a depressive state due to my deteriorating state. I was the mom who never missed anything in my 14 year olds life and now O struggle with just picking my kids up after school. Do you have any suggestions on how to relieve the pain associated with my MS brain fog?


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