Fibromyalgia Patients Show Worse Cognitive Function in Their Everyday Lives, Small Study Finds

Fibromyalgia Patients Show Worse Cognitive Function in Their Everyday Lives, Small Study Finds
People with fibromyalgia display significantly poorer perceived cognitive function and objective working memory in their daily lives, according to the results of a small study. The study, “Fibrofog in daily life: An examination of ambulatory subjective and objective cognitive function in fibromyalgia,” was published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. While chronic and widespread pain is a hallmark of fibromyalgia, cognitive impairment — also called “fibro fog” or “brain fog” — is reported in approximately 70% of people with the condition. A previous study showed that the most common cognitive difficulties for those with fibromyalgia include learning and memory problems, difficulty paying attention, and inability to control movement. Cognitive dysfunction contributes to “negative health perceptions and difficulty maintaining relationships, working, communicating, driving, organizing, and initiating activities of daily life,” the researchers wrote. However, fibromyalgia's effect on cognitive function has only been studied in a clinical environment, with no studies to date on its impact on patients' cognitive function in daily life. Therefore, the researchers evaluated the daily-life perceived (subjective) and objective cognitive function in 50 people with fibromyalgia, compared with a control group of 50 people who were unaffected by the condition. Participants were recruited in the Michigan area, and their mean age was 44.9 years for the fibromyalgia group and 45.2 years for the control group. Each group consisted of 44 women (88%) and six men (12%). Those with fibromyalgia were taking significantly more medications that could potentially alter their cognitive function, and they were more likely to be unemployed (4
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