4.5 Years of Steadily Worsening "Brain Fog" (Bradyphrenia)

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Hi everyone. For 4 and a half years now I've been fighting a losing battle with steadily progressing brain symptoms, which started suddenly with an infection or virus of some kind back in June 2016. Nothing I've tried in these years regarding diet, suppliments, medications have had any effect at all and it seems to be completely unaffected by anything other than time.

The brain symptoms I speak of are primarily causing processing speed to slow down the more it progresses and I feel like I'm hitting a mental brick wall whenever I try to think. At the start, it only affected things like difficult college work. But as it has worsened over the years, other aspects of cognitive functions started to gradually shut down, leading to blunted emotions, anhedonia/apathy and vision processing issues (slow laggy vision + thinking and being aware of what I'm seeing is like multitasking now). Other symptoms which gradually set in and worsened over the years includes various heart arrhythmias (sudden SVT attacks and bigeminy), insomnia, bloated/distended abdomen, tinnitus, rapid weight loss and muscle waste (more recent symptom), weakness and clumsiness in muscles, getting out of breath easily (when going up stairs for example) and a bunch of horrible feelings and pains in my head (like my brain is in perminent 'sick' mode). My brain also physically hurts and strains whenever I try to think beyond my brain's capabilities (almost a bit like having arthritis in your brain if that makes sense), resulting in me taking codeine tablets all the time to more or less numb my brain of all the horrible feelings in it and help me to somewhat function untill it wears off again.

What I'm experiencing with my brain seems to be a form of bradyphrenia, which is a term used for progressive slowing of thought processes leading to anhedonia/apathy as it worsens. This is very different from typical 'brain fog' many speak of which is generally temporary, seems reversable, can be better or worse at different times and in many cases improves or gets worse with certain foods or suppliments. Instead, in my case, I just keep getting worse untill I either die from this or find some way to treat it and stop it from progressing further. As I continue to deteriorate, I'm finding that the rest of my body is slowly catching up to the state my brain is currently in.

As I've said many times previously, nothing I've tried has any effect at all and there's been zero improvements or fluctuations in my brain symptoms since the onset. I recently seen a naturopath doctor too who became speachless when I told her this and didn't really have any answers for me. I will also add however that most things I've tried in the past are geared towards helping brain fog which does appear to be what I've actually been suffering from the whole time.

I'm very puzzled to what would cause sudden bradyphrenia symptoms overnight along with an apparent infection I had. The only thing I can think of at present is either a thyroid problem (related to T3 or RT3) or an infection such as Lyme or one of the co-infections which may have got into my brain where my immune system can't fight it off. Whatever is wrong seems to be mostly localised in my brain and the rest of my body isn't so much affected at the moment.

I've looked up a neuroimmunologist in my area who I believe might actually help me get to the bottom of this once and for all. Someone also suggested trying the antibiotic Doxycycline (which can cross the blood-brain barrier), and that if symptoms improve by taking it, would give me some idea of what is actually at stake.

Anyway, here's hoping that this year, I finally make some sort of breakthrough and find light at the end of the tunnel with this. And likewise, I wish all of you on here the very best on your healing journys, best of luck for this year!
 
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Instead, in my case, I just keep getting worse untill I either die from this or find some way to treat it and stop it from progressing further. As I continue to deteriorate, I'm finding that the rest of my body is slowly catching up to the state my brain is currently in.
I'm sorry to hear this is happening...very difficult.

I've been experiencing very intense cognitive issues myself.....however I am likely considerably older and have been dealing with the ME for most of my life. When I rest up enough, I may have a day in which that feels lessor.
 
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I have the same thing you have, excluding the pain aspects. In my case it has gotten so bad that i'm completely unable to function, it's impossible for me to do even extremely basic tasks like making food. I have unfortunately never found anything that works, and i'm not really aware of other people who have this problem either - sure most me/cfs patients have a very mild version of this but i've never seen it get so severe as in my case.

I'm very puzzled to what would cause sudden bradyphrenia symptoms overnight along with an apparent infection I had. The only thing I can think of at present is either a thyroid problem (related to T3 or RT3) or an infection such as Lyme or one of the co-infections which may have got into my brain where my immune system can't fight it off. Whatever is wrong seems to be mostly localised in my brain and the rest of my body isn't so much affected at the moment.
Unfortunately it's not that simple. This kind of symptom is due to a dysfunction of the limbic system and there are a ton of possible causes for it.
 

Hip

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other aspects of cognitive functions started to gradually shut down, leading to blunted emotions, anhedonia/apathy
The virus I caught in London in 2003 quickly led to blunted emotions and anhedonia (symptoms which I still have), and later triggered ME/CFS. This virus, which blood tests suggest is coxsackievirus B4 (the same virus some researchers think causes type 1 diabetes), I detail on my website here.

That website also details some of the treatments I found useful for the various physical and mental symptoms of the virus (see Treatments page).

What worked well for me is high dose selenium, which I originally took because some studies indicated it has antiviral effects against coxsackievirus B (though the benefits I get from selenium might in fact be due to some other properties of selenium).

For brain fog and cognitive issues, you might like to look into B12 injections (or the more potent B12 transdermal oils from Dr Greg Russell-Jones).

Also the nootropic supplement piracetam can help brain fog in doses of around 800 mg daily. But note many ME/CFS patients find that while piracetam boosts cognition for around 8 hours, after that, there is increased emotional blunting. But I find if I keep to low doses of 800 mg, the blunting is not that noticeable.

In my case, I had both the normal ME/CFS brain fog, which as you say is variable from day to day, but in the early years with my virus, I also felt I had some kind of numbed mental state, which I could not quite name, but it involved blunted emotions, anhedonia, and also a lack of motivation (not the same thing as anhedonia). I describe all three in this post (and also list some treatments which helped me).

Lack of motivation was a serious issue for me. If for example I spilt a bit of coffee on my desk, I would just numbly stare at it for 10 minutes, knowing that I needed to mop it up with a tissue, but my brain would just not engage in the task of cleaning it. I had to use an enormous act of will to try to get my brain to engage in this simple cleaning task. Obviously something was amiss in the motivational circuitry of my brain.

For the lack of motivation (which I no longer have to any major degree), at the time I had it, I found low doses of the dopaminergic drug pramipexole (half a 0.18 mg tablet) very helpful. I would buy this drug at prescription-free overseas pharmacies (see this post).

For my anhedonia an social withdrawal symptoms, I found very low dose amisulpride helpful.
 
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@Hubris Sorry to hear that you have also been suffering with these symptoms and haven't found anything that works. Yep, this definitelly isn't a symptom you would generally get with ME/CFS. Many on here have some degree of this like you said, but not like this. If symptoms are able to relapse and remit, there is hope at least, but with seemingly permanent decline, the only hope is finding the cause and stopping it.

In my case, it feels as if the brain isn't just inflammed, but something is constantly aggravating the brain and making it worse, to the point that the brain almost physically feels inflammed. I wouldn't be able to tell if any specific area of my brain or pathway is affected here, since everything seems bad. I'm thinking it could well even be intracranial hypertension induced by a virus, since that would explain all the physical head issues I'm getting as well.

@Hip I'm glad that you've been finding that have helped and gave you some relief with these symptoms, and thankfully at least you know what you are dealing with in your battle with ME/CFS.

The anhedonia and emotional blunting I've been getting however started for me about a year into my illness and just seems have slowly progressed along with the other brain symptoms. Having a symptom like this happen suddenly and severely with a virus like in your case seems to indicate that those specific pathways are affected. Mine has just been gradual deterioration with everything else that's been happening.
At this stage, I can't see any kind of suppliments giving me any improvements. I'm not even sure if the symptoms even can improve or do anything other than perminantly degenerate like they seem to be doing.

The thing concerning me the most with this is that I can feel something in my head aggrivating my brain all the time and making the symptoms worse. I get these episodes where my head hurts so bad it feels kind of like it's filled with boiling acid that's burning my brain, feels like my skull is bleeding at times and can barely rest my head on a pillow because of it. All of my symptoms get noticably worse during these episodes, and it starts affecting my speech which is scary. This pain and discomfort in my head seems to work hand in hand with all my other symptoms, almost as if something happening in my head is physically causing them.

I just hope the neurologist I'll be seeing will have some answers.
 
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In my case, toxicity is a major player in neurological health. I use some specific supplements to accomplish this. Let me know if you want details.
I'd like details. Toxins are in my body, and efforts to eject them cause serious worsening.

I believe the article posted below- is powerful info that is...tied to our problem. There is a big finger pointing in this article at the link below.

the extra cellular matrix

it has diagrams. check it out.

All of this has some kind of direct bearing on our cognitive brain fog issues, and with brain cleansing...which I am convinced is impaired in us.

I personally feel that the collagen breakdown is a major factor in long term ME, which I've had. Collagen is not just a structural protein- its busy and is conveying messages thru the body, which is impaired in ME, in my opinion, at least mine is.

https://jonlieffmd.com/blog/extra-cellular-matrix-is-critical-to-neuroplasticity

I want to think about some of this further- but I think aspects of this are potentially involved in aspects of this. It is this space, at night, which is supposed to be flushed. Cleansed. Cleared out.

Would love to see some of you Smarties around here- look at this info.

1611100515423.png
 
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the extra cellular matrix

it has diagrams. check it out.

Here from the blog above, is a figure showing...that at night, while we sleep, this intracellular matrix area widens...allowing and facilitating flushing...of our brains...Its so easy to imagine that with weakened collagen processes, and other aspects of the ME breakdown...how this process could become impaired...and lead to neurotoxicity and related problems.

1611101484624.png
 
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FMT is one possible solution.

I would definitely see if the doxy helps. The caveat is that it helps through multiple pathways, so you can't learn much from it if it does end up helping. The pathways are it inhibits MMPs which breakdown collagen, it acts as an anti-inflammatory, it obviously targets bacteria, and might even prevent certain viruses from replicating.

See if anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen help.

See if a water-only fast helps (no eating for 24-36 hours, no drinking of anything but water).
 
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For me, I experienced similar symptoms before replacing my cortisol. Slow in thought, anhedonia, terrible cognition.

However, I would also check out inflammatory issues (e.g. COXi might help)