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378497 tn?1232147185

Memory and typing?

Hi, all--

I teach. This semester began on January 7, and I find that I have no short-term memory AT ALL. I'll be in the middle of a lecture and think of something I want to mention and then...it's gone. I can't find it. I used to be able to trace my way back to a thought, but now my brain simply won't do it. Today, I actually wrote down a word as a reminder, and then I couldn't even remember what the word was supposed to remind me of. I did that several times in class this morning. My students probably think I'm nuts. Long-term memory appears to be completely unaffected.

I also lately have found when I type that I'll sometimes make the same error--usually a shift or transposition--over and over; even as I try to correct it, I'll make it again three or four times. I'll think I have my fingers at the right spot on the keyboard after adjusting, and I still don't. I'm an extremely fast typist and working at the computer is part of what I do for a living.

So...does anyone have any tips for the memory stuff? Is it an MS-type thing, or am I just getting old? I'm 39 and probable MS right now. I just started taking Stress B supplements and lecithin on the advice of my health-nut mother who has been right before the rest of the world about many such things. Doesn't seem to have done anything for me yet.

And what's the deal with mistyping (which I just did plenty while typing this)? Is that a cerebellar thing or what? I don't have visible lesions in that area.


10 Responses
378497 tn?1232147185
Helloo??? Tap tap tap...is this thing on?
333672 tn?1273796389
I don't have any tips, but this kind of stuff happens to me. At first I thought the typing problems were just my fingers getting out of sync b/c my left hand is worse than the right, but sometimes I do start typing completely wrong letters for no apparent reason. It's like my brain is sending weird signals (which I guess it probably is).

I blank on stuff, too--people's names that I should know, what I was going to say or do next, or how to spell words. Sometimes, I'll just sit and stare at the computer and not even have any idea how to begin to spell the word.

It's mostly subtle stuff that I think other people can overlook or put down to a bad moment, but I do find it kind of worrisome and I didn't have these problems before.
147426 tn?1317269232
Several people have commented that the Provigil they take for their fatigue (Is fatigue a big part of your symptoms?) has helped their mental clarity and memory some.  I have read some good things over the last three years on the combination of the OTC supplements Acetyl-l-carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid.  I have started taking these myslef.  I can get you some references if you wish.  There was a wonderful study out of Stanford about three years ago (on aging rats with "dementia" which made the combo look very promising.  A lot of research took off ofter that.  In addition the ALA has been used in Europe with some success to treat Trigeminal neuralgia and some other neuropathic pain syndormes so I'm also hoping that it helps me, too.

The typing thing.  I do all of those things two.  Some times I transpose at least 2 letters in almost every word.  Those times I just have to leave the computer.  Then are the times I write jibberish, and NOT just from being off place on the keyboard.  Those times I have to rest for a while, too.  And then there are the times when I misspell a word the same way 3 or 4 times in a row while trying to correct it.  It's like a huge disconnect between what my brain knows and what it can tell my hands.  

Do you need to work off a more detailed outline for some of your lectures while your brain is taking it's leave?

I agree it is distressing.  You might consider asking for a neurophsych eval.  They can pinpoint the specific cognitive areas which are floundering and often make very good coping suggestions.  As scientists we feel we should be able to figure it all out, but we have to remember that the instrument we're using to analyze is defective.  

The neuropsych eval can also add additional evidence toward the MS diagnosis.  There are some typical patterns seen in MS.

I hope this helps, Quix
378497 tn?1232147185
Thanks for the input. That typing thing does sound like what I do. I have an MD friend in Houston who takes Provigil for ADHD and thinks it really helps her clarity with that. Considering my existing tendencies in that direction, I probably should look into it on general principle. I have fatigue, but I've got three children, two with special needs, and an extremely stressful life, so I don't think this fatigue is unexpected.

My instrument is defective!?? Say it ain't so? No, actually, I was whining to my husband today that my brain is all I have. Some people have their looks or their hair or their great attitude. All I have is my brain (that's how I feel, anyway), and now it's got scars.

The thing about the lectures is that I have NO problem with the standard things I teach--I remember those fine. It's when I'm on my feet and I think of something cool to bring into it and then...phhht! It's gone. That's been how I teach for years, so it's been kind of tough to dance around it.

It's nice to know that we can be comparable with "aging rats with dementia," isn't it? ;)

Thanks again!
Avatar universal
I'm afraid I quit teaching because of this very memory problem.  I taught 2nd graders, who by nature, constantly interrupted me and then I'd completely lose my train of thought.  Provigil didn't seem to have any effect at all for me, on fatigue or memory problems.  I do often write words as I'm talking to help jog my memory or as a crutch.  A more detailed outline as Quix recommended is probably a good idea.  I do know that the more stressed you get about losing a thought, the more likely it is to stay gone.  I try to just go on with a new thought and generally the old one will pop back in my head.  Sure good to know I'm not alone and neither are you!

378497 tn?1232147185
Thanks for telling me your experience. I have a six year old, a five year old, and a 17 month old, so I know what you mean by interruptions! I don't actually use outlines when I lecture, but my trouble isn't really with the info in my long-term memory--that seems pretty intact, although sometimes the train will derail with student questions (which I encourage). It's the things I think of on my feet--like if a "teachable moment" arises--and I'll file away something I plan to do in just a few seconds, and phhttt....it just vanishes. So frustrating because those spur-of-the-moment things I do as a teacher really keep me AND my students energized.

Ugh. Not looking forward to these kinds of things at all.

Avatar universal
Boy do I understand those "teachable moments" going phttt!  Or as Quix says, "getting stupid!"  It helped me to explain to the kids, in very simple terms, that I had some brain damage that made it hard for me to say their names or keep track of what I was saying.  That actually was helpful, because then they wanted to help me out.  They often filled in the blanks for me, and if I suddenly had a good thought I could whisper it to a child sitting close and tell him to remind me, which s/he was more than happy to do.  I don't know if something like this could help you in  your situation or not.  Now I'll have to tell you one of my favorite teaching funnies.

One afternoon, while teaching, a couple of kids kept interrupting me and talking out inappropriately, and I kept calling their names and telling them to stop or raise their hand, etc.  Finally, in desperation, I stopped and said, "Elliott and Rachel, it's not fair to everyone else that I have to keep stopping and calling your names to do the right thing, so I want you just to sit quietly."  Without missing a beat, Elliot quipped, "But Mrs. B, you need the practice."  

Needless to say, we all had a good laugh.  Kids are so honest!

378497 tn?1232147185
That's a cute story. That age group is so funny.

Actually, my students already are helping me. They probably think I'm nuts, but they're very good naturedly helping me backtrack to a moment in time, hoping to trigger my memory about what I planned to do. That's worked a couple of times, so far. These are great kids at a small private college, and I really like them. Nice young people. That makes me sound really old--I'll turn 40 this year--and this may be one of the first times I've thought of my students in that sense before! :-)

Avatar universal
I also teach and have the same challenges.  I fear I'm becoming that "ditsy" teacher, that we all giggled at when we were in school.  My breaking point happened this past summer.  I spent 5 weeks trying to plan my first day of school - something I've planned many years now.  I had a hundred things for the first day . . . how unrealistic was that???  When my symptoms calm down, I notice I am closer to my old self . . . but when symptoms rear their ugly heads - my ability to multi-task and plan goes out the window.  I have to rely  heavily on old lesson plans to get through these times.  I'm not even going to mention trying to survive the day when the fatigue is at its worse.  

Avatar universal
This is an old post, but i thought you might like a quick tip anyway. I'm turning 30 in a few weeks and am going through the same experiences that you went through.

I have one very large visible lesion on my right temporal lobe, and 6 or 7 more all on my spinal cord. Dx is Probable.

I suffer from cognative issues more now that ever and I have refused treatment to this point. What I do take is Acetyl - L Carentine. It really boosts mental function and really helps me focus on tasks and helps the memory.

I've been off it for about three weeks because I ran out, i'm noticing things creeping up on me now more than ever. Working as an System Admin (IT), you need to be on your toes. Just last week I blanked on the server name for our terminal servers. I knew what i was doing, I knew what I wanted to accomplish, but could not for the life of me remember the name of that particular server.

To make matters worse, I log into this server daily without conciousily thinking. but that day.. nothing...

I need to get my acetyl L shipped as this is VERY bothersome.

- Bear
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