Engaging in activities that are mentally stimulating and challenging is essential to a person’s well-being throughout life. Mental stimulation contributes to personal growth, enhances creative thinking and problem-solving abilities, and broadens a person’s horizons with new learning. Like exercise for the body, mental stimulation helps the mind stay active, alert and engaged even in the face of aging or changes caused by MS.
The term “cognition” refers to all of the high-level processes carried out by the human brain. Similar to the processing done by a computer, the human brain takes in information, stores it, processes it and generates output based on that information. MS is known to cause problems with one or more of these cognitive functions in many people. In fact, 65% of people with MS will experience some changes in cognitive functioning
, most commonly related to speed of information processing, memory and attention. It is important to report changes of this kind to your healthcare provider so that you can get a proper assessment of the problem as well as strategies to help you manage it. With or without these cognitive changes, however, mentally stimulating and challenging activities to promote cognitive health are important for everyone.