Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
OverTheHills wraps up our series of articles on this year's 12th Invest in ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London with some reflections on her experience as a patient attending the conference for the first time.
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Brain Fog, what's the cause?

Discussion in 'Cognition' started by Cerberus, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Cerberus

    Cerberus

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    To start: I’ve had brain fog for all 19 years of my life. And until recently, I had no idea of the severity. But after some difficult life events, I was placed *temporarily* on an antipsychotic (Seroquel to be specific) and after some turbulence, I noticed that my head was cleared up, that I could see clearly, and that physical and mental issues that I’d dealt with my whole life started vanishing. My memory was helped and hindered simultaneously, the working memory seemed broader but my recall took a bit of a hit. But, rolling with it I was able to enjoy things(movies, food, etc.) like never before. I felt normal for the first time in my life.

    For a week or so things were pretty good(aside from some side effects), but then my dopamine started dropping and in response, I began tapering off the Seroquel, which offset the drops. It took a few months to taper off and as that happened, I noticed that physical issues such as:
    Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    Reflux, coughing up mucus
    Blurry and static vision
    Poor Coordination (certain parts of my leg feel unresponsive, makes taking walks difficult)
    Fatigue
    Tension/creaky joints

    Disappeared little by little, and then came back as I returned to my old self.


    Some mental issues also returned, such as: depersonalization, depression, my narrow memory(recall was back though), inability to multitask, slight agitation. All in all, my working memory is back to its’ old self. I was able however to feel a sense of continuity to things that I’d never felt before, instead of single moments strung together by recall there were larger chunks so to say. It take in an entire scene, instead of being forced to focus on one thing at a time. Now it feels like my memory/mind has been reduced to a narrow view port or an increasingly narrow box instead of the open mind that I had for a little while, at least.)

    I tried taking an antidepressant recently and it made the fog worse, so I had to stop after two doses.

    My goal would be to find out how to treat the underlying cause of this condition without something as excessive as an antipsychotic.

    Also, I do follow a regimen for my health:
    I exercise when possible.
    I eat a balanced diet(gluten and dairy free).
    Adequate sleep.
    I take a multivitamin, vitamin d, half of a b-complex, fish oil, a probiotic, and a combination pill of zinc/magnesium/calcium. I also take NAC.

    I’ve been tested for allergies, lectin sensitivity, I’ve had my hormones tested, and a number of other tests but nothing has come up positive.
    I’m planning on seeing a neurologist and taking a test for mitochondria. Any questions? Any thoughts? Perhaps I left something out?

    Sorry if this comes off as a little disjointed.
     
    melamine likes this.
  2. arieswmn

    arieswmn

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    Hey, when you say your dopamine dropped off what do you mean by that? Were your dopamine levels tested?

    TBH there are many, many, causes of brain fog.
     
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  3. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Hi, my thoughts are that you have something very different to the illness I do and which most others here have so Im not sure if we are the right ones to be asking about what is causing your brain fog and other things.

    Usual ME/CFS causes of brain fog arent fixed at all by Seroquel or lots of us here would be on it.

    I know for a fact too that Seroquel doesnt at all help my brain fog as I have tried that. What Seroquel does to me is make my brain fog even worst and knocks me basically out or makes me so much more tired I cant do anything.

    Im curious why you have stopped a drug you appear to need to take. I know if my issues were fixable with a drug. I'd certainly take it.
     
  4. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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  5. Alea Ishikawa

    Alea Ishikawa

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    Brain fog can be caused by allergies, lack of oxygen, etc. Some patients have orthostatic intolerance, which can cause low blood flow to the brain. Other patients have infections which can cause fever and/or inflammation of the brain.

    From Dr. Sarah Myhill:


    I am glad you were able to have a moment of clarity. There have been a few posts on people trying things to increase clarity. I think @Hip might be someone to talk to. @Woolie might know some stuff, too.



    I'm not sure a mito function test would be of value. From what I understand, mitochondrial dysfunction is a documented issue in CFS. It might be better to just do treatment for it. Or are you testing for something else?
     
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  6. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Revolting Peasant

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    I'm not so sure. Cerberus is yet to tell us if s/he does have ME/CFS, doesn't or doesn't know yet. If you see the list of symptoms in the OP as just a selection of a longer list, then I don't see why not. I certainly identify quite strongly with what Cerberus has described, though not in all details.
    The drug was prescribed on a temporary basis for a different condition and Cerberus is looking for an alternative to an antipsychotic. The willingness of a doctor to prescribe on an permanent basis and whether the benefits outweigh the side effects, in this case falling dopamine, have to be taken into account.

    Welcome @Cerberus. Hope you find some clues here.

    I'm just a little bit confused by the order of the events that you described.
    Were these symptoms:

    • already present before you started taking Seroquel, disappeared gradually as you were taking it and then gradually returned as you were tapering of the drug, or
    • not present before you started taking Seroquel, appeared while taking it, then returned while (or after) you were tapering off?
    [Edited: I've realised that it was the former]
    Do you mean recall of things you already know or your ability to learn and recall new information?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
    melamine likes this.
  7. melamine

    melamine Senior Member

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    @Cerberus - Your experience with Seroquel is interesting. It would be nice if you could take short courses of Seroquel intermittently since it was clearly helping.

    My best guess is that dental mercury was the original cause of my own brain fog, while opening the door for deranged homeostasis, impaired immunity, infections, etc., which became co-drivers of disease in time and with increasing exposure to ever-increasing amounts of mercury + other environmental toxins.

    You seem to be able to identify a point in time when it began. What happened 19 years ago that caused the start of your brain fog?
     
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  8. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Revolting Peasant

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    It looks like it's been a life long problem and that the recent course of Seroquel has revealed how severe it is.
     
  9. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    What I found interesting was the two ME/CFS patients on this thread who found their brain fog was more or less eliminated when they took the antibiotic Rocephin (ceftriaxone).

    I proposed a theory to explain this: the drug Rocephin massively increases the expression and function of the glutamate transporters in the brain. Glutamate transporters are responsible for pumping out excess glutamate from the brain, and Marco has proposed in this blog article that excess glutamate in the brain could underpin the cognitive symptoms of ME/CFS (symptoms such as brain fog, and sensory gating deficits like sound sensitivity.)

    Marco mentions Seroquel (quetiapine) in that blog article, incidentally.


    I personally find that the drug/supplement piracetam works wonders for improving brain fog.
     
  10. Vic

    Vic

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    @Cerberus It's interesting that parts of your leg feel unresponsive. I have this too somewhat on my right side and it's also in my right core. Is it both sides or just one for you? I wonder how many others have this or something similar. I've seen at least a few.
     
  11. Cerberus

    Cerberus

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    I'm afraid I wasn't tested, I just became increasingly unable to feel pleasure. That's why I didn't stick with it.

    I'm just trying multiple things in order to see what sticks. Thanks for the leads.

    Mostly being able to recall things I've already learned.

    It's both legs, most noticeably below the knees.

    Thanks for the warm reception, everyone.
     
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  12. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Revolting Peasant

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    @Ceberus have you ever tried antihistamines?
     
  13. Tired of being sick

    Tired of being sick Senior Member

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    Brain Fog, what's the cause?

    In my case.............

    Ischemic change in the deep white matter caused by dysautonomia
    My dysautonomia is in the form of Hyperadrenergic POTS.....
     
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  14. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    It was the fact Cerberus didnt say he or she has a ME/CFS diagnoses which made me query things. Ive found in the past many people when they come here and dont state that, they often havent got a diagnoses so they could have still anything at that point and we end up usually finding out that they wouldnt meet ME/CFS criteria.

    It was also the statement of exercising whenever possible which made me wonder too. Ive since realised that I may of taken that part of the post wrongly thou as I wondered if it was whenever the person has time too rather then whenever the person is well enough to do so.

    Most ME/CFS people stop purposely trying to exercise as it makes them sicker and keeping up with stuff in their lives is usually hard enough (exception to that is usually unless they are still trying to exercise thinking it will actually end up helping).

    Its those things which made me wonder about the posters diagnoses or if even diagnosed at all.

    Cerberus.. do you mind saying if you have actually got a ME or CFS diagnoses or have you assume this is your issue?

    Brain fog from a non ME/CFS cause may not be the same as from ME/CFS causes.
     
  15. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    I strongly suggest you get tested for things as without testing and knowing what issues you have going on, its like finding needles in haystacks.

    Even if you do have ME/CFS, tests can be very useful for finding out what treatments/supplements may work the best for different things eg dysautonomia testing, hormonal testing etc etc.

    it was throu hair testing I found out I was deficient in an essential trace mineral.. molybdenum.. which helped my brain. B12 injections helped my brain too and my genetic tests (and also another blood test) also show I needed that too.

    I really suggest not to try to randomly treat yourself but rather get some tests done to guide you into possible more right directions.
     
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  16. Cerberus

    Cerberus

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    Aside from the Seroquel, no. Would you recommend trying them?
    I did receive a diagnoses of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from my GP. Though, perhaps the underlying cause is something different.

    As for the exercise, I do so when I have enough energy. And only light stuff like walking. Anything too intense leaves me drained for days afterward.
     
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  17. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Revolting Peasant

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    I couldn't say..........but antihistamines do get mentioned quite frequently on the forums as being helpful for one thing or another, not obviously related to allergy.

    For example, here is a post from Hip in which he refers to reducing anxiety:
    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/completely-eliminated-my-severe-anxiety-symptoms-with-three-supplements.18369/page-19#post-477247

    The reason I asked is because I was looking into Seroquel, because of your first post, and saw that one of its actions was as an antihistamine. Just a thought.

     
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  18. arieswmn

    arieswmn

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    If you have a positive response to anti-histamines it may indicate you have a problem with histamine intolerance and/or mast cell activation. Allegra is a decent OTC option, and there are many herbs with anti-histamine action: Quercetin, Ginger.
     
  19. arieswmn

    arieswmn

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    Also, have you tried non-prescription anti-depressants like 5HTP and SAMe? Those eliminate the brain fog for some. Sorry too many options to try.
     
  20. physicsstudent13

    physicsstudent13 Senior Member

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    that's great that piracetam works for you, my hypoxia is so severe it doesn't do anything, I need to have surgery to have an open airway.
    I've heard SAM-e helped but it's kind of expensive and I'm neutral about it. do you find it helps a lot? SSRIs will narrow the blood vessels in your brain
     

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