This week's New Scientist magazine ( www. newscientist.com) has an article on the theory that sleep problems may cause neuro-psychiatric symptoms, rather than be a cause of them. It is an idea whose time has evidently come; there is also recent evidence that many diagnoses of ADHD may be related to sleep apnoea. Lack of REM sleep is the particular culprit.
Sorry, but this is going to be a bit of an epic screed.
Sleep apnoea, as you will now appreciate, is now a well recognised cause of all sorts of problems, from mood disorders to heart disease and immunological impairment. The good news (
if I remember correctly, which I think I do) is that the situation, when apnoea is cured, tends to improve dramatically.
My problems, with the exception of sleep apnoea, migraines and the sensitive skin thing, have been almost exactly yours in the past (at the same age, starting after a bout of viral pneumonia), and at that time disordered, unrefreshing sleep was sheer torment to me.
Even now when ill with chronic fatigue I will sometimes enter phases where I must get extra sleep, and should I be wakened before "the last hour" then - regardless of how many hours I've had - I still feel like I haven't slept. The last hour, or at least a chunk at the end of my sleep cycle before I wake up naturally, is the all important bit, for some reason. That's what gets me up feeling clear headed and physically able, as opposed to myotonally wrecked and brain befogged.
I cannot give you any advice on migraines, except to say that I have heard a nutritional therapist claim that virtually every woman she ever treated with migraines had a dysfunctional balance of magnesium, being severely lacking in that element. Given the wonders she worked on my health problems, I am inclined to think that she knew her stuff. Certainly she never put a foot wrong on biochemistry that I knew of.
The memory loss I am working on. It is a constant source of worry to me, it shapes my life at every step, and it may yet render me homeless as it is not really recognised as a problem in my assessment for benefits, due to the fact that my verbal fluency is so obvious.
Duh, you're a doctor, don't you appreciate that there are other types of memory other than that for words ? !
In my case the types of memory loss that are worst are short term memory loss, (what I was going to do, what the start of my sentence was)....now where was, ah yes,
what I think is prioperceptive memory - remembering where I put things, being conscious of what I am doing with things (now where did I put that ?) and last but certainly not least, the killer, declarative memory - I can comprehend what a doctor says to me, however complicated he cares to make it, but I will not remember it unless he writes it down. Facts, figures, yes/no decisions - I remember the framework of ideas around them, I recognise them , but do not recall the facts themselves, unless the situation points to the answer. More recently, within the last couple of years, just past the age of forty, my ability to do crossword puzzles has dropped quite dramatically, at the same time as I started on SSRIs which adversely affected my cognition.
How typical any of these specific forms of memory loss are, or how common the particular mix is, I don't know meowese, although I know from recent posts that "brain fog" (a term borrowed from the fibromyalgia forum) is not uncommon amongst Crohnies.
It is noticeable that my cognition is adversely affected particularly by medications, aural or visual distractions, and last but not least, season. Wintertime is when my cognitive abilities are most inclined to dip to a severe low, although they can also soar to heights as well. I am very inclined to think that the ability to reason and concentrate on a subject, for myself at least, is almost like a computer; it is intimately bound up with the amount of memory available to me. Poor short term memory - don't read anything more complicated than the local newspaper. Starting with something easy to read though can eventually get me into "the zone" where my powers of concentration, and hence comprehension, become formidable.
ion of sensitive skin rings a loud bell. I have read of this elsewhere in a text book in the distant past, and much more recently on one of the HW forums, I am quite sure. Bell's Palsy, or something associated with that ? Fibromyalgia ? Lupus ? Lyme's ? Try posting on some other forums, I think you may get some useful feedback. Sorry I cannot be more specific, but it does ring a very loud bell.
As far as brain damage is concerned, don't freak out. I don't mean to make light of it, God knows I am sure I have damage to my own hippocampus myself and I know how disheartened that makes me feel. But cognitive impairment is often repaired by the brain itself rewiring around damaged areas, and in some cases this may even lead to extra or unique abilities to manifest themselves as the extra neuronal connections change the modus operandi. Speaking as a layman who has been reading about
the science of neurology for twenty-odd years, it is amazing how many people have some sort of neurological damage. Often times many things we think of as character traits may be as a result of a change in brain function; for example body dysmorphism leading to an obsession with food or bodybuilding. Often they can even attribute it to a specific time period, event or illness; viruses causing inflammation in the brain seem to be something rarely noticed medically at the time, only long after. But the thing so many people say, is, "But it got a lot better after, it just took a while."
There are no guarantees, but since I came off my SSRIs, I am back to six minutes for the crossword.
And I have high hopes with B12, too, lack of which I have recently found is implicated in sleep disorders (it regulates circadian rhythms) and low energy levels.
Hope this helps !