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How to best gauge levels of brain fog & fatigue

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Hip, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. searcher

    searcher

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    I participated in Dr Natelson's spinal tap study a year ago and part of the study involved a short neuropsych test. You first read a list of words that increased in difficulty and the researcher determined how many you knew based on your pronunciation, which I assumed was a very rough IQ test. Then you copied a drawing and they removed the drawing and asked you to redraw it-- this would be tough to do on-line. The next test was maybe 5 minutes long-- you watched numbers go across a screen and had to press a button when you saw a repeat from one or two numbers ago. This one fried my brain and I had to lie down after a few minutes (and obviously this would be incredibly easy when my brain was working right.) You also had to repeat some numbers backward that were read to you, which seems like an easy online test.

    I don't know the results or grading for that test, but I feel like if we can find a version of the two numbers tests online it would be a good brain fog test-- I think they compare your results on those tests with your IQ to determine how disabled you are. You would only need to do the IQ test once for a baseline.

    I will look around a little to see if I can find an online version, but I fear there may not be a free one.
     
  2. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    There's another fairly simple test which might be useful - the Stroop test.
    That's the one where you look at a list of names of colours - but they're (sometimes) printed in a different colour.
    The task is to read the name of the written colour out loud, for example;
    RED,
    BLUE,
    YELLOW,
    GREEN
     
  3. searcher

    searcher

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    The stroop test is also good. I found a free version of the n-back test online that could be a good daily test- http://dual-n-back.com/nback.html It is connected with IQ and working memory, and an extra bonus is that taking it every day could help our working memories while allowing us to gauge how we are doing that day. You could do the short trial (2.5 min) of 2-back every day (or a different length depending on your general functioning) and record your score.
     
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I have just being trying this test, and the first thing I realize is that for me it feels a little bit unrelaxing to actually test yourself. The act of mustering up the mental focus to perform this task gives me a slightly anxious feeling. Strange, because I always used to reasonably enjoy these sort of tests.

    Though it is a very interesting test — thanks searcher.
     
  5. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    That looks like a very interesting test, and I like the idea of it, but I wonder how you would convert it into an online test, where the response would probably have to be via keyboard or mouse, rather than a verbal response.
     
  6. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I do not think that would be possible - the test is testing the whole process you go through to name out loud the correct colour while ignoring the conflicting information. That includes the processes which enable you to speak.
     
  7. searcher

    searcher

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    I was looking at different on-line tools for brain training a few months ago and came across http://www.adhdtherapy360.com/adhd-training (my CFS includes a lot of AHD-like symptoms.) The site requires login, but as far as I can tell the games were free. The games were based on the stroop effect and required clicking instead of speaking. The games were actually kind of fun, albeit a little anxiety-provoking.
    Hip - I know what you mean about tests/games that used to be fun being a little stressful now. It's very strange; I was the type of kid who enjoyed doing puzzles and intellectual games all the time and I didn't even feel stressed doing standardized exams, and now trying to concentrate for a couple of minutes makes me feel anxious.
     
  8. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Does anyone know of any subliminal consciousness type tests? Like a threshold of awareness type test. Or a test where you need to detect small changes that appear.

    When my brain fog is high, I tend not to notice any new changes or novelties introduced into my regular environment (at home, or in the street). Whereas changes to a familiar set up are what healthy people tend to pick up on very quickly.

    Also, a subliminal perception of small changes might be a more relaxing type of test.

    It seems that the types of tests where you need to use deductive logic or short term memory skills are a little anxiety-provoking; but a I would guess that a test based on subliminal perceptions coming into consciousness may have a more laid back feeling to it, for us ME/CFS patients.

    (In fact, as an aside: it seems that any activity in my life that requires a lot of logic or short-term/working memory, or preplanned action, or a preplanned sequence of events I find slightly anxiety-provoking, and also very mentally fatiguing. Whereas tasks that I can spontaneously and creatively engage in without any preplanned requirements are relaxing, and are not really tiring.)
     
  9. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Seems that the registration process is not working at the moment on that website, but I will try again later.
     
  10. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Just to refresh our memories, here are the symptoms of brain fog, that we are here trying to gauge:


    Word use & recall: Difficulty recalling known words, use of incorrect words, slow recall of names.

    Short-term memory problems: Forgetfulness, inability to remember what's read or heard.

    Directional disorientation: Not recognizing familiar surroundings, easily becoming lost, having trouble recalling where things are.

    Multitasking difficulties: Inability to pay attention to more than one thing, forgetfulness of original task when distracted.

    Confusion & trouble concentrating: Trouble processing information, easily distracted.

    Math/number difficulties: Difficulty performing simple math, remembering sequences, transposing numbers, trouble remembering numbers.


    Source: here.
     
    magicskyjuice likes this.
  11. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    For something subliminal, you'd need to find one of the tasks that involves what is called "priming".
    That's the sort of thing where a word is flashed on a screen for a couple of microseconds, not enough for conscious recognition, before a main stimulus is shown, to see if there has been any subliminal influence on the interpretation on the main thing.
     
  12. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    That is very interesting peggy-sue. You certainly have a great wealth of knowledge in psychology.

    I should think that a priming psychometric test should be fairly straightforward to implement on a computer: it should be relatively easy to briefly flash up a word or image on the screen, with the flash so fast that it is below the threshold of conscious perception.

    One could write a bit of software to create a card guessing game along these lines, where there are say 5 cards represented by 5 different symbols. Zener cards might be ideal for use in this game.

    The Set of 5 Zener Cards
    zener-cards.gif

    When playing this card guessing game, a player would have to guess the next card that is going to be dealt, before it appears on the computer screen.

    But the next card is also subliminally flashed up on the screen before it is dealt, so that only the player's unconscious mind can "see" this card. If the player's subliminal, unconscious perception is good, it should influence their decision when guessing the next card to be dealt, and so their score will improve.

    But if their subliminal perception is bad, then their score will go down.


    Do you think this sort of set up might actually work, peggy-sue?

    Whether subliminal perception ability correlates to brain fog level, of course, is another question.
     
    alex3619 likes this.
  13. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I think it would be better with a word rather than a symbol. There would be learning involved in recognising them all, while we want to see how normal functioning is affected.
    Simple words are very often understood as a "logo", the meaning of a word jumps out at the reader without them spelling out and enunciating it letter by letter.
    It does not (always) require conscious, concentrated, activity in the working memory.

    It's not a guessing game.
    It's to see if the real meaning of the word displayed is harder to retrieve,
    if the brain has been primed with a different, competing meaning.

    So if the subliminal perception is bad, the accuracy of the score would improve. The priming would be unpercieved.
     
    alex3619 likes this.
  14. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I think I roughly understand what you are saying, peggy-sue, but could you please give me one or two sets of words (the subliminal word and the properly displayed word) as concrete examples of this process, just to make it clear.
     
  15. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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  16. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Thanks for that example. I haven't quite been able to work out you are supposed to do in these tests, or how the scoring works, but then my brain fog is high at the moment. I'll come back to it later.
     
  17. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    I seem to have had different types of symptoms at different stages of my illness. I've also had ADD my whole life so that makes things tricky. The main thing right now is memory. It's usually short term where I forget for a moment what I was about to do or what I just did, but I've also had some long term memory issues. There's this anime show that I probably watched over 200 episodes last year, but then I stopped watching it for about 4 months. A few weeks ago I was trying to remember the name of the organization of the main group of bad guys. Even though the name was mentioned a few times in almost every episode I couldn't remember it. There were a few other things, but that was the most surprising.
     
  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Little Bluestem likes this.
  19. roxie60

    roxie60 Senior Member

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    This discribes very well the probs I have and have had (only think missing is at a point when reading it seems the letters were jumping around and sometimes there were weird colors a well, these two symps have disappeared now that I stopped taking certain med). But what is frustrating is these problems are intermitent and I dont know why. Also I am going to be given a neuropsych test soon and worried if dont on a 'good day' it will not reflect the problems I struggle with daily or periodicaly.
     
  20. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    In ME/CFS, is quite normal for the degree of brain fog you experience to vary a lot from day to day. Usually brain fog gets worse after physical or mental exertion, but brain fog can also just get better or worse on its own, without apparent cause.
     
    roxie60 likes this.

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