Fibromyalgia Patients’ Cognitive Issues Related to Depression, Research Reveals

Fibromyalgia Patients’ Cognitive Issues Related to Depression, Research Reveals
Many of the cognitive issues experienced by patients with fibromyalgia can be attributed to depression. That finding comes from the study “The effect of depressive symptoms on cognition in patients with fibromyalgia,” which was published recently in the journal PLOS One. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that is characterized by pain, fatigue, and depression. In addition,  several studies have demonstrated that patients with fibromyalgia have cognitive impairment compared to healthy people used as controls in the studies — particularly in regard to working memory processes, attention, executive processes, and processing speed. Working memory refers to a cognitive process that is responsible for temporarily holding information available for processing. Executive functions are a set of processes that have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. Patients with fibromyalgia also frequently display psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety disorder, and sleep dysfunction. Many researchers believe that cognitive dysfunction in patients with fibromyalgia can be attributed to these three psychiatric comorbidities. Specifically, depression has been shown to lead to severe neuropsychological impairment. In particular, depressed patients show defects in attention, memory, psychomotor speed (physical movement related to conscious cognitive processing), processing speed, and executive function. Researchers set out to investigate whether cognitive issues in fibromyalgia patients can be explained by other factors associated with fibromyalgia, such as depression, anx
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  1. Larry F says:

    Sounds like a nice click bait title. Pain, illness, fatigue are the REASON many chronically ill people have depressive symptoms while this ONE PAPER and your headline imply a reversed link. Several other notable papers over the years have also noted the link between ‘fibro fog’ and neuroplastic changes in the brain associated with chronic pain, as well as the simple fact that a pain patient’s attention becomes more highly focused to fighting their pain to the detriment of being available to concentrate on other tasks.
    Disappointing that you’ve taken to the ‘standards’ of the mainstream media in jumping at an individual paper’s results as the new final authority in science/medicine.

  2. B Loeffel says:

    Larry, I agree. This article sounds like a reversal back to Depression first then pain, when I for myself, and I can only speak for myself, it is without a doubt pain first and depression developing from having chronic pain and the load of other symptoms (including cognitive symptoms), not being heard by Doctors etc. Going from vibrant and articulate to being sidelined and often loosing the ability to express yourself would depress the strongest of people and even though mindfulness and other meditations help some, it does not prevent flair ups or makes symptoms disappear. I believe that one day it will be determined that Fibromyalgia is an Autoimmune disease that alters the Central Nervous System and/ or how our body’s Circulatory System functions. It is sad that a website dedicated to this Illness would even acknowledge an article like this.

  3. Nancy says:

    I am on anti-depressants and thus I do not feel depressed, however I DO have cognitive issues (and of course struggle with pain and unfulfilling sleep). I would caution that perhaps cognitive issues are due to the pain and sleep issues, NOT due to actively exhibiting depression symptoms.

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