What causes cognitive dysfunction in fibromyalgia?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Cognitive dysfunction has been linked to CNS imbalances. Abnormal levels of such neurotransmitters as substance P, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine may cause cognitive dysfunction. Neuroendocrine imbalance of the HPA axis may play a role. Another possible cause of cognitive dysfunction is the distracting quality of pain in fibromyalgia. Cognitive performance of patients with fibromyalgia correlates with their reported level of pain.

Brain damage from the effects of stress hormones may be involved in the cognitive dysfunction in fibromyalgia. Researchers are exploring this possibility by measuring tissue volumes in the hippocampus. Other studies have implicated yeast overload, water retention, and glial cell abnormalities as causes of cognitive dysfunction in fibromyalgia.

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