What did I find out? Probably far less than if I weren't struggling with brain fog. Not much is actually sinking in or staying with me at the moment - but I've given you links to some of the sites I've read, so if you're thinking more clearly, maybe you can glean more from it all than I did.
Brain fog, or cognitive dysfunction, includes things like forgetfulness, confusion, struggling to find a word, anything that interferes with normal thought function.
So the reassuring things I found out? Researchers in both rheumatology and neurology are working on the problem. And 80 per cent of lupus patients have periods of brain fog - so it may be frustrating, even frightening, but I'm not the only one. (There's safety in numbers, right?)
The not-so-reassuring things? Well, the researchers don't seem to be learning much. There doesn't seem to be a link between brain fog and how active lupus is, or anything you can see in a blood test (lots of lupus issues don't show up on the blood tests). If lupus has actually caused physical brain damage, that's likely to cause brain fog, but there's no sign of pinning down any other indicators. There's a lot that researchers just don't know.
Regular aspirin may possibly reduce brain fog in older lupus patients, and steroids may aggravate it. And there doesn't seem to be an overall improvement or decrease in ability over time. (That is, brain fog just doesn't keep getting worse the longer you have lupus.)
Making lists, using tools like pill sorters, etc may help overcome some of the problems. So do things like repeating the same tasks over and over, and developing habits (always leaving the keys in the same place, etc).
Cognitive Dysfunction in Systemic Lupus Erethematosis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16194262
Cognitive Dysfunction in Systemic Lupus Erethematosis is Independent of Active Disease http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8587073
Cognitive Impairment in Systemic Lupus Erethematosis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10836619
Lupus-Related Fatigue and Cognitive Dysfunction: The Chicken and The Egg http://www.hss.edu/conditions_lupus-fatigue-cognitive-dysfunction.asp
Neuropsychological Function in Systemic Lupus Erethematosis: A Five-Year Longitudinal Study http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/41/4/411.full
Pinpoint Cognitive Dysfunction in Patients With Lupus http://www.the-rheumatologist.org/details/article/1788541/Pinpoint_Cognitive_Dysfunction_in_Patients_with_Lupus.html
Predicators of Cognitive Dysfunction in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erethematosis http://www.neurology.org/content/64/2/297.abstract
Thinking, Memory and Lupus: What We Know and What We Can Do http://www.hss.edu/conditions_thinking-memory-lupus.asp
What is Cognitive Dysfunction? http://www.lupusinternational.com/About-Lupus-1-1/Cognitive-Dysfunction-.aspx