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Everyday Activities That Boost Cognitive Health for People with MS

By Erica Patino
Reviewed by Jeff Wilken, Ph.D.
November 14, 2022

If you’re like up to 65% of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), you or your loved ones may have noticed changes in your cognition—which refers to your ability to think and includes memory, attention, reasoning, focus, and information processing speed.

Cognitive functions like these can be affected by brain changes related to multiple sclerosis itself. Some medications used to treat the symptoms of MS, such as steroids, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants, can also interfere with cognition, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And the emotional issues common in MS, such as depression, can also make it hard to concentrate, as can fatigue and a lack of quality sleep.

If you’re concerned about your cognition or aren’t feeling as sharp as you once did, there are everyday steps you can take to help boost your cognitive health. First, though, be sure to talk to your neurologist. “Sometimes, it is helpful to have a neuropsychological assessment done to determine exactly where the problems are. With that, people may benefit from cognitive rehabilitation therapy, both to work on the problems that were identified, as well as to come up with strategies to help compensate for those difficulties,” says Dana Cooper, M.D., a board-certified neurologist in Los Angeles.