[Cognitive impairment in patients suffering from fibromyalgia. An underestimated problem].

Neurologische Klinik der Universität Regensburg, Regensburg.
Der Schmerz (Impact Factor: 1.02). 02/2010; 24(1):46-53.
Source: PubMed


The primary symptom of fibromyalgia (FM) is chronic, widespread pain accompanied by diffuse tenderness to light palpation. However, many patients report a multitude of additional complaints and symptoms. Besides fatigue, exhaustibility and stiffness, a decrease in concentration and memory are further complaints that add significantly to the degree of suffering. This complaint, often termed "fibrofog", is increasingly recognised as an independent symptom that has made its way into the medical literature under the term "dyscognition". Nonetheless there are only a few studies that have specifically investigated neuropsychological deficits in FM patients in order to further specify clinical complaints. The studies performed so far have provided increasing evidence that FM patients have attention and working memory deficits, which are most prominent when patients have to cope with an additional source of distraction. With this review we intend to give an overview of the neuropsychological studies in FM performed so far and to assess possible implications for the underlying pathophysiology. In addition, we discuss potential clinical approaches to these symptoms. A systematic literature review up to June 2009 was carried out using the keywords (pairs) "fibromyalgia" and "cognition", "fibromyalgia" and "dyscognition", "fibromyalgia" and "cognitive deficits".

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Available from: Ralf Luerding, Oct 06, 2014
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    • "FM patients frequently display greater impairments in the ability to actively retrieve past episodic events in the absence of a cue (free recall) than on recognition tests, which serve to evaluate the retrieval of remembered information and are more resistant to the effects of impaired attention and concentration [43, 44, 48, 51]. It has thus been proposed that memory impairments in FM are more highly related to attentional factors that modulate the efficiency of memory functioning than to primary memory processes per se [48] [60] [61]. Thus, the inability to manage distraction seems to be a particular problem in fibromyalgia patients and is reflected in patients' reports of difficulty concentrating and dealing with complex, rapidly changing environments [61] and by memory tests showing performance decrements in the presence of distraction. "
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