Robby: My cognition problems don’t show up in appointments and what can I do to show that my memory and cognition is letting me down?
Professor Dawn Langdon, Neuropsychologist: Well, I’m sorry to hear that. I can say that quite a lot of people have that experience. So the first thing is, check that the psychologist you’re seeing knows about MS and is using the right tests for MS.
Robby: And how would you know, how would I know?
Professor Dawn Langdon: Well, one of the things you can do is ask them, you can say how have you chosen these tests and is this the battery that’s appropriate for MS. Another thing you can do is you can go online and you can find out about these things, there’s a couple of websites, there’s Staying Smart and there’s also BICAMS, and they have all that information for you. So that’s the first thing to do. The second thing is that one of the main aspects of MS cognitive difficulties is reduced information processing speed, so you can think of that as like a reduced bandwidth. So if you’re in a testing room with a psychologist and a desk and it’s all quiet, that may work fine, but if you’re in a busy office and there’s lots going on and phones ringing, or maybe you’re in a car and the satnav’s shouting at you, turn right, and the kids in the back are saying are we there yet, lots of different information coming in at once, it can be hard to process all that efficiently. And so that kind of bandwidth problem often only comes into effect when people are in a situation where there’s a lot going on, so you might want to, for example, not use the satnav or maybe move your desk in the office to a corner where it’s more quiet, there are ways you can control information overload.
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Professor Dawn Langdon is Professor of Neuropsychology at Royal Holloway University of London, she is co-chair at BICAMS, her other areas of expertise focus on BRIMMS (benefits and Risks of MS medications. She has been the neuropsychological lead on multiple MS trials in the pharmaceutical industry. She is also a trustee of the UK MS Trust.