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Does Anyone Have Math-Only Brain Fog?

Discussion in 'Cognition' started by cman89, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. cman89

    cman89 Senior Member

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    I was wondering if any of you have brain fog symptoms that are very selective in nature. For example, I find that when my thinking is at its worst, I can still comprehend written text and write rather coherently, but anything mathematical and not intuitively logical is lost on me. Now, I understand that this occurs even with folks that are not dealing with ME/CFS, but I was wondering if any of you have noticed a CHANGE with this at all? If math was an issue pre-illness, than this query doesent really apply, but if you have what you feel is selective brain fog, please tell me your experience.
     
  2. aimossy

    aimossy Senior Member

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    Yes!
    Maths and spatial things are allways bad for me now and was one of the first things that significantly changed for me. My spelling and gramma problems and word finding difficulty came along with brain fog after that and fluctuates but is never at my previous normal function.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
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  3. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    This is a painful subject for me. :) Pre-ME I used to be a maths teacher to teenagers. They often challenged me to beat their calculators, which I did. Now I can't add two simple numbers together reliably.

    At times, it has been so severe, that I cannot comprehend the value of coins. For example, when paying for a few items in a shop (I was served by one of my ex-pupils) and I had to hand over something like 67 pence............I just couldn't work it out. The coins had no meaning to me. To cover my embarrassment, I thrust my purse in her hand on a pretext and asked her to remove the correct amount.

    For similar reasons, I can no longer play scrabble. Pre-ME I was second in a championship, but now find not only can I not spell, but I cannot total the score. It is so humiliating, I no longer play.
     
  4. erin

    erin Senior Member

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    I think I was born with math only brain fog! Always had problems with maths.
    However, I have a serious switching languages brain fog now. I am bilingual but I feel I can't speak either of the languages very well nowadays. If I am using one of the language and asked a question or spoken to me in other language I struggle big time. This was never the case before, I used to be very comfortable switching languages.
     
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  5. Battery Muncher

    Battery Muncher Senior Member

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    I am also able to read quite well, albeit slowly (because I keep forgetting what I read). I can't write fluidly, and it takes me a lot of effort to write a few sentences, but what I write is generally Ok (I think).

    I was always very strong in verbal subjects. However, I was used to be quite good at maths and hard science as well.

    That's no longer the case. Like many others have mentioned, even basic arithmetic will baffle me. I have been trying to learn some computer programming - to try and find home-based employment - but it has been impossible to make progress.

    Out of interest, has anyone experienced greater problems with foreign languages? I used to be quite good at languages, and thought about becoming a translator. However, I seem to have lost my capability with foreign language.
     
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  6. PatJ

    PatJ far and free I gaze

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    I used to be a computer programmer before this illness killed my career. Speed in coding, clarity of thought, and ability to accurately estimate the time required to complete a project were signs that my health was starting to decline. Coding requires analytical thinking and the ability to hold multiple things in mind and evaluate their interactions. Brain-fog seriously degrades, or completely prevents that kind of thinking. I knew it was time to quit working when a two-week web site took six months to finish due to brain fog.

    I can still do very basic math but have problems remembering what I've read, comprehending detailed ideas, difficulty with word selection, and problems getting my thoughts into spoken words even though I can do it mentally.

    Some things that have helped to reduce my brain fog include staying horizontal (due to low blood pressure), liposomal vitamin C, and liposomal glutathione (Terry Naturally Clinical Glutathione).
     
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  7. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    yes - certain "executive function" skills (frontal lobe) are very tough, and this has a big impact on me. Brain fog is my worst symptom, and is linked to sinus problems. Specifically...
    • working memory, which is supposedly key to math processing..also inihibits short-term memory, which impacts things like directions... Do you have a "working memory" problem (ie, is this the core problem behind the math problem?).. My dad was a whiz at math processing, and I've read that ppl who are "human calculators" have a high capacity for "working memory" ...
    • planning & prioritization & organization
    • task initiation

    Math is very hard for me, even though I consistently scored the same in math & other subjects on standardized testing.

    "Framing" my ideas is hard for me, and has definitely impacted my career.

    I have a very hard time organizing paperwork, which is ironic b/c the mountain of paperwork produced by doctors & insurance companies is fairly amazing...

    If I could fix ONE thing - it would be brain fog... b/c it affects my personality, ability to work/make money, my relationships/how ppl perceive me...
     
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  8. Spoons

    Spoons

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    Yeah I'd say it was a working memory problem rather than a maths-specific one. I have the same thing, my working memory is terrible now, and the first thing to get worse with brain fog.

    (In case you don't know, working memory is the bit before short-term memory. It's basically when you're holding something in your head in order to work with it, without it going into short-term or long-term memory. So like holding the numbers of a sum in your head to work out the total, or adding up coins (adding two coins, holding the total, adding the next, etc)
     
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  9. cman89

    cman89 Senior Member

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    Maybe I was looking more in terms of math processing, but I agree, at my foggiest, working memory sucks balls.
     
  10. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    do you have sinus problems? If so, does it impact brain fog?

    shoemaker has a theory that some ppl w CFS have persistent nasal infections that go undetected by traditional medical tests.... I can't afford the MARCONs test now, but it's an interesting idea... doing lots of sinus rinses, XLEAR, and i might add Ponaris
    http://biotoxinjourney.com/marcons/
     
  11. moblet

    moblet Unknown Quantity

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    I have a degree in maths and was working as a mathematical modeller when my health collapsed. In theory I could have kept working from home but most of what I used to be good at was now confusing me, especially anything multidimensional or non-linear like @PatJ mentioned. One of the first things I lost cognitively in the decline was the ability to recognise whether or not I was doing technical things correctly while I was doing them, and when I discovered a fundamental mathematical error in a model I'd built a few months previously I realised that I had to get out of the game. In the years since I've occasionally tried to help people with high school level mathematics problems and gotten completely mired. I find spreadsheets invaluable for handling life's mathematical needs, because the maths can be retained on the sheet instead of in one's brain, the sequence of calculations only needs to be figured out once and can be saved for future use, the arithmetic is done for you, and error checking is as easy as it can be.

    I've also been fogged with language, but not as dramatically as I have with maths. I'm usually slow in spoken conversation and have little endurance for it but can usually cope OK in writing, although it too is very slow..

    When trying to learn or think through anything remotely complex I frequently lose my train of thought, regardless of whether mathematics is involved. I also tend to fluff tasks where multiple factors need to be considered simultaneously, unless they were things I'd mastered before my collapse and are hard-wired. I still overestimate my ability to do such tasks in the moment and thus maintain only a minimal collection of power tools for the safety of life and property.

    One area in which I don't seem to have been fogged is in grasping where others' minds are at both intellectually and emotionally. I never claimed to be brilliant at it but I don't seem to be any worse at it than I ever was, and of course I'm often too tired or foggy to make the perfect response to what I observe. My ability to drive on quiet single-lane roads is unaffected, even in hazardous conditions, but on busy, especially multi-lane roads I can't track everything like I formerly could and avoid or compensate accordingly. I still use a manual gearbox with little to no cognitive difficulty but my proprioception working the clutch is sometimes off.
     
  12. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    Sounds like some people here suffer from this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyscalculia

    I don't have any worse issue with math than anything else. I studied some math at university (I've been ill since I was a teenager), and it was a struggle, but so were other subjects. I wonder if I had never been ill I would have been able to understand what defeated me (had to drop out of a course late...): calculus of variations. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I often struggle with writing clearly, though I have developed ways of focusing and working around so to speak (takes far longer to write anything!).
     
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  13. Hell...Hath...No...Fury..

    Hell...Hath...No...Fury.. Senior Member

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    My partner is constantly having a go at me because when I pay him for my grocery shopping at home, I'm always giving him a ton of coins.

    This is because when I go out myself, I don't have the brain capacity to count the correct change in a shop while simultaneously having to make small talk with the cashier.
    I stopped trying a long time ago so no matter what I'm buying I will round it to the nearest pound or nearest note which results in pockets full of change to bring home constantly :thumbdown:

    On the written side of things my grammar is great when hand writing but typing on phone its often wrong just through laziness in correcting.

    I'm noticing more and more during brain fog, i will go to type on my phone, and my fingers won't type the correct letters. I'll end up pressing everything to the right of the letters i want, or on another day, every character to the left of the one i want (always one character to the left 'or right' of everything i try to press)

    Its happening now. Sometimes i can delete a sentence or word multiple times, and go to immediately correct it, only to press the exact same wrong keys again and again. Its so frustrating and exhausting that there's no chance i'm correcting grammar etc too. As long as its vaguely understandable, its staying ;)

    I'd say my maths short circuits at the same time as writing/text equally. Though i avoid maths at all costs now as it really fries my brain these days.

    When I did Planetary Science and other science courses with the University a good few years ago, the constant page long equations nearly finished me off :aghhh: I thought my brain would never recover.
     
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  14. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    the brain has a lymphatic system, and i'm convinced that this is linked to my cognitive problems... i.e., if my lymphatic system were doing a better job clearing toxins, then my brain would work better! see the link below

    EBV supposedly "lives" in the lymphatic system; if that's true, it may explain why my brain feels "polluted" ..In general, I would like to know if chronic EBV affects the lymphatic system .. I haven't had much luck finding info..

    https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih...tic-vessels-discovered-central-nervous-system
     
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  15. CCC

    CCC Senior Member

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    My son reports this exact issue. He has gone from being able to easily cruise in maths (years ahead of his grade) to struggling with anything basic. That's how we knew something was really wrong, as opposed to him just not wanting to do homework.

    Our family explanation was based on a study we saw years ago. Now, what comes next is possibly not technically accurate: elite mathematicians and normal people had brain scans (of some sort) while they did some arithmetic. The mathematicians' brains lit up over the whole brain and the normal people's brains seemed to have just one part of the brain more active.

    Our explanation for the loss of maths from my son is that he was one of those who used their whole brain in 'doing' maths.Maybe it was connections, or maybe energy, but something stopped those higher-level maths functions.

    As his brain fog has lifted, he's started to read maths again, mainly number theory. Normal maths (algebra, calculus) is still out of reach.
     
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  16. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    These are my two worst cognitive issues. At my worst I cannot count to 3, the math is beyond me, and I cannot open an open plastic bag because I cannot figure out how to do it. Those are highly selective cognitive deficits.
     
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  17. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    Dyscalulia ended my career, after I had a degree in physics and one in IT. I've been able to recover some ability with elementary arithmetic by finding tricks that reduce the load on working memory, but the days of carrying thousands of lines of code in my head and fixing programs using mental run-through are over.
     
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  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I notice that the "mathematical module" of my brain has been inordinately adversely affected by my ME/CFS brain fog. My degree was a joint one in mathematics and physics, and professionally I worked in software writing; so I was accustomed to analyzing things on a logical and mathematical framework.

    But now with ME/CFS brain fog, I struggle to understand even the most simple mathematical calculations.

    Thinking logically and mathematically I always thought was a sort of "magical" ability of the mind. Plato believed that the structures and concepts of mathematics and logic exist in a non-physical yet objective universe of their own, a universe which he called the "world of Forms." This world of Forms, Plato argued, is a separate reality distinct from the everyday physical world that our body inhabit.

    Roger Penrose has even suggested where this world of Forms resides: he thinks it exists at the Planck scale in quantum systems (remember that Penrose and Hameroff argue human consciousness is a quantum system, and so presumably having consciousness then gives you access to the Platonic world of Forms).


    So the mathematical and logical ability of human beings can, if you like, be seen as something that the mind and brain tap into, and something that is intimately related to consciousness.

    Since brain fog feels like a blurring or degradation of the clarity of consciousness, it is perhaps not surprising that mathematical and logical ability is so badly affected by brain fog.
     
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  19. Rick Sanchez

    Rick Sanchez

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    This is because math is just inherently extremely mentally exhausting :(. It burns up the glucose available to the brain in no time, now multiply this with CFS and we have a cocktail of doom and gloom :/.

    Used to do AP math, now I have a hard time doing simple multiplication in my head :(, on my bad days I almost can't and on my worst I just can not at all :(
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
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  20. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    weird & timely!... I just stumbled on this "Mental Math May Improve Emotional Health":

    "...In the current study, the more active a person’s dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was while performing mental math, the more likely he or she was to report being able to adapt their thoughts about emotionally difficult situations.

    “We don’t know for sure why that is, but it fit into our hypothesis that the ability to do these more complex math problems might allow you to more readily learn how to think about complex emotional situations in different ways,” Scult said. “It is easy to get stuck in one way of thinking.”

    Greater activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex also was associated with fewer depression and anxiety symptoms. The difference was especially obvious in people who had been through recent life stressors, such as failing a class...."

    I wonder if this test is designed a little poorly... ie, a malfunctioning prefrontal cortex inhibits math AND emotional coping mechanisms ....vs doing math develops better coping mechanisms

    http://psychcentral.com/news/2016/1...111084.html?li_source=LI&li_medium=hot-topics
     
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