Cognitive Dysfunction or “fibrofog” has been linked to central nervous system imbalances. This condition may cause some patients the most disability. According to some investigators, such symptoms include confusion and forgetfulness, inability to concentrate and recall simple words and numbers, and transposing words and numbers. Often, their cognitive functions are so impaired that they are unable to perform their usual activities of daily living (ADL), and the patient may get lost in familiar places or not be able to communicate effectively. Those patients who work face the fear of losing their jobs. Some school-aged patients drop out because of their inability to complete schoolwork.
Advances in noninvasive technology have made it possible to visualize the brain. New methods such as single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanning have helped define some of the abnormalities linked to the cognitive dysfunction. Studies involving SPECT scanning show decreased blood flow in the area of the right and left caudate nuclei and thalami in fibromyalgia patients. Cognitive dysfunction may be caused by abnormal levels of neurotransmitters such as substance P, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Some investigators claim that neuroendocrine imbalance of the HPA axis also may play a role in fibrofog. Others studies have implicated yeast overload, water retention, and glial cell abnormalities as causes of cognitive dysfunction in fibromyalgia.
For further information, please see http://fmscommunity.org/fibrom.htm