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MS and Memory

For many people, common symptoms of MS include impairment of some mental functions. Approximately half of all people with MS are affected by problems with memory, attention and concentration, as well as processing information. These problems can appear at both earlier and later stages of the disease.

Common Memory and Cognitive Symptoms

Short-term memory, such as remembering a person's name or phone number, is most affected by MS. Other examples of short-term memory impairment are forgetting to mail a letter, or walking into a room and forgetting what you were looking for. You may also have difficulty making decisions, scheduling events, and adjusting to surprises. Recognizing these symptoms is the first step in starting a management program.

Managing Memory

One way that everyone can manage memory is to write things down. You may even want to get a digital voice recorder. Also, memory skills can be improved by exercising them. Playing games and learning new tasks may help your brain develop new pathways. Things like word games and puzzles may help you improve attention, concentration, and organization — and they're fun.

Getting Help

If you feel that your memory is failing you more often, it may be time to find help. The first step is a mental function evaluation. This testing is usually performed by a neuropsychologist, and may take several hours to complete. Cognitive testing can be helpful in managing your MS. You may feel a sense of relief in knowing that there is a medical reason behind any memory problems you may be experiencing.
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