New Study Examines Effects of Drivers of Cognitive Dysfunction in People with Lupus
Cognitive dysfunction (CD), or ‘brain fog’, is reported to have affected up to 90% percent of people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The cause is unclear, treatment options are limited and there is a lack of consistent measure. Researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) examined brain responses to working memory (WM) using behavioral (Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, CANTAB) and neuroimaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) techniques. Researchers discovered people with SLE scored higher on measures of depression and fatigue and had poorer performance on a task of sustained attention and had altered brain responses.
A lead study researcher and professor, Ian N. Bruce, Arthritis Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, Division of Musculoskeletal and Dermatological Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester adds, “We have found that lupus patients had altered brain mechanisms. Their brain is having to work harder to maintain the same level of performance as a healthy person. This might explain why many lupus patients report brain fog, tiredness or a general feeling of cognitive fatigue. A number of factors contribute to this including mood, lupus damage and inflammation. We hope our findings could eventually lead to clinical trial of tailored treatments to help SLE patients overcome brain fog complaints.”
CD in people with lupus has multiple drivers and therefore treatment should be individually tailored. Learn more about coping with cognitive symptoms of lupus.