A molecular pattern has been discovered with regards to cognitive dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome, giving hope for improved diagnosis and treatment. The researchers uncovered a unique pattern of immune molecules in the cerebrospinal fluid in people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). This discovery provides insight into the basis for cognitive dysfunction – also known as brain fog – and may inform advancements in the syndrome diagnosis and treatment.
The researchers measured the levels of 51 immune biomarkers called cytokines in cerebrospinal fluid of 32 ME/CFS patients, 40 multiple sclerosis patients, and 19 healthy controls. The researchers found that the levels of most cytokines were depressed in ME/CFS patients, compared to the other groups.
Researcher Dr. Mady Horig explained, “We now know that the same changes to the immune system that we recently reported in the blood of people with ME/CFS with long-standing disease are also present in the central nervous system. These immune findings may contribute to symptoms in both the peripheral parts of the body and the brain, from muscle weakness to brain fog.”
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin added, “Diagnosis of ME/CFS is now based on clinical criteria. Our findings offer the hope of objective diagnostic tests for disease as well as the potential for therapies that correct the imbalance in cytokine levels seen in people with ME/CFS at different stages of their disease.”
Simple lifestyle tips for those brain fog days
Here are some simple lifestyle tips which can help you better manage those brain fog days.
Once you recognize you’re having a brain fog day, sink and relax into it rather than fight it. Work within your limits and take regular time-outs. Try not to get upset and be as patient as possible.
Drink as much filtered water as you can because oftentimes brain fog can be a result of dehydration. Ensuring you are well hydrated can help you start to think clearly again.
Avoid caffeine and energy drinks as they can contribute to dehydration and can actually make you feel more tired rather than energized.
Get enough sleep.
Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of variety to ensure you are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body and brain need to think clearly.
Related: Overcoming chronic fatigue syndrome: Steps to follow