Why can MS cause changes in cognitive function?

The main reason why MS causes cognitive function changes is its direct effect on the brain. MS damages nerve cells and myelin (the protective layer surrounding your nerves) in the brain. This affects brain functions, including cognitive function. Because the exact pattern of damage due to MS is different for every person, the changes in cognitive function also vary between people.

MS also has an indirect effect on cognitive function. The disease causes fatigue, stress, and depression. All of these things, especially fatigue, can have negative effects on cognitive function. This indirect effect can cause cognitive function changes on its own or make existing changes more difficult to cope with.

If you are concerned about the risk of physical disability and cognitive impairment, talk to your doctor. You can work together to find ways to live with MS.

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