While I was off on vacation I did some reading on why those of us who live with chronic pain and/or fibromyalgia have short term memory loss. Often I can't remember something for even 2 seconds and it makes me crazy!
I wanted to know what is going on that causes it and did find some explanation...not that I can do anything about
it but here goes.
Here is a snip-it from Northwestern University's research via www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org.
"What Causes Fibromyalgia Memory Loss?
Once fibromyalgia memory loss was determined to be genuine, this left a lot of questions as to why fibromyalgia sufferers experienced these symptoms.
A study performed at Northwestern University found a link between chronic pain and memory loss. Imaging studies performed on chronic pain patients showed a 25% increase in pre-frontal cortex activity, when compared to healthy controls. The pre-frontal cortex is also responsible for helping your brain retain new information and short-term details. However, when pain symptoms were reduced in these patients, activity in the pre-frontal cortex decreased, and memory actually improved. This supports the theory that pain may have a significant role to play in fibromyalgia memory loss.
Sleep and Memory:
There also appears to be a link between sleep habits and memory and cognition. Studies have shown that people are able to remember information better if they have a period of restful sleep in between study and recall. This effect has been termed the "sleep effect." Because fibromyalgia patients often suffer from disturbed sleep patterns, the sleep effect on memory may be greatly reduced in fibromyalgia sufferers. In particular, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, may significantly reduce your ability to retain and recall new information.
Here's the link for this particular information... www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/fibromyalgia_memory_loss.html
So basically what is going on is that the prefrontal cortex of our brains is where short-term memory happens. Also, in this same area, is where chronic pain activity goes on. When we are in pain the prefrontal cortex activity increases about
25%. So now we have 25% less 'brain power' to process and remember new information. It's no wonder we don't remember things like we used to. Also there is an issue with sleep as mentioned in the second paragraph. Sleep helps us retain items we have newly learned. Since many of us have sleep problems it makes sense that our memory will suffer.
So, how do we overcome these? I have no idea but I'm going to keep reading the most recent research to find out. It sounds to me like reducing pain and getting better/more sleep will help also. The words sound easy, doing it certainly isn't.
Hope this helps...
Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis in Neck/Hands/and slowly meandering around other places....and other maladies as discovered.
It's kind of fun to do the impossible.