Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is known for causing painful joints, but this autoimmune disease is also associated with memory and concentration problems, as well as with general problems in thinking. These cognitive symptoms, known colloquially as “brain fog,” are also found with other inflammatory conditions.
Although the associations are there, it has been difficult to track down the link between inflammation and brain fog. Theories have attributed brain fog to the medications people take for RA, the depression that often descends on those in chronic pain, or other causes.
However, a recent study, published in Nature Communications, was able to explain how the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis affects the brain directly.
Clinicians typically monitor the severity of RA by keeping track of the level of inflammation in the blood. Researchers took those measurements in the study’s participants, who had had rheumatoid arthritis for between 3 and 20 years, and compared them with MRIs of their brains.
The results: blood inflammation levels were highly correlated with changes in areas of the brain associated with visuospatial processing and memory. Researchers also found that the level of inflammation was linked to specific changes in the pattern of connections in specific parts of the brain. This allowed them to identify and describe an “inflammation configuration”: a pattern of neural connections that reflects the level of inflammation in the body.
The study sheds light on the complex ways in which inflammation affects the body, including its mysterious effects on the brain.
At Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, there’s nothing mysterious about our ability to keep our residents healthy and happy. We pay close attention to the needs of our residents, We take a restorative approach to senior health, maximizing function and mobility in a positive and upbeat atmosphere.
For those with Alzheimer’s, not just brain fog, we provide care that is specifically designed to address the needs of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive disorders.
For the safety and well-being of our cognitively impaired residents, Atlantic Coast offers a separate secure unit. The wide corridors are homelike and easy to navigate, creating an environment with a sense of familiarity and security.
The Alzheimer’s unit caregivers are specially trained to care for memory impaired residents. With their extra sensitivity and understanding of the condition and its impact, our caregivers treat each resident with dignity and love.
The cognitively impaired care program helps patients maximize their cognitive function. Likewise, the activities program is designed to foster social interaction and an appreciation of life.
For patients in more advanced stages, innovative sensory therapies such as audiovisual stimuli and aromatherapy are beneficial in inducing a sense of calm.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.