Fibrofog in daily life: An examination of ambulatory subjective and objective cognitive function in fibromyalgia

Anna L. Kratz*, Daniel Whibley, Samsuk Kim, Martin Sliwinski, Daniel Clauw, David A. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective
Perceived cognitive dysfunction in fibromyalgia (FM), “fibrofog,” is common. Prior laboratory‐based studies have limited our understanding of cognitive function in FM in daily life. The aim of this study is to explore levels of subjective and objective cognitive functioning and the association between subjective and objective aspects of cognition in persons with and without FM in the lived environment.

Methods
Participants (n=50 adults with FM; n= 50 adults without FM matched on age, sex, and education) completed baseline measures of subjective and objective (NIH Toolbox) cognitive functioning. Then, they completed ecological momentary assessments of cognitive clarity and speed and tests of processing speed and working memory, via a smart phone app, 5X/day for 8 days.

Results
On baseline objective measures, the FM group demonstrated poorer cognitive functioning across three NIH Toolbox tests. There were no strong correlations between subjective and objective cognitive functioning in both the FM and control group. In the lived environment, the FM group demonstrated poorer subjective cognition and objective working memory; groups did not differ on processing speed. Momentary ratings of subjective cognitive dysfunction were significantly related to changes in objective processing speed but not working memory, with no group differences.

Conclusion
Findings indicate worse lab‐based and ambulatory subjective and objective cognitive function for those with FM compared to those without FM. Similar associations between measures of subjective and objective cognitive functioning for the groups suggest that people with FM are not overstating cognitive difficulties. Future research examining contributors to ambulatory fibrofog is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1669-1677
Number of pages9
JournalArthritis Care & Research
Volume72
Issue number12
Early online date9 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • fibromyalgia
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • fibrofog
  • ambulatory assessment
  • working memory,
  • processing speed

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