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Arthritis Rheum. 2009 Jun 15;61(6):740-4. doi: 10.1002/art.24559.

Normalizing memory recall in fibromyalgia with rehearsal: a distraction-counteracting effect.

Author information

1
Rush Medical College, Chicago, Illinois, USA. frankleavitt@sbcglobal.net

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the impact of distraction on the retention of rehearsed information in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).

METHODS:

Data refer to the neurocognitive examination of 134 patients (91 with FMS and 43 control subjects) presenting with memory loss. Four neurocognitive measures free of distraction, along with 2 measures with added distraction, were completed. Differences in the retention of rehearsed and unrehearsed information with a source of distraction present were calculated.

RESULTS:

Patients with FMS showed normal cognitive functioning on verbal memory tests free of distraction. Adding a source of distraction caused unrefreshed information to be lost at a disproportionate rate in patients with FMS. Over 87% of patients with FMS scored in the impaired range on a task of unrehearsed verbal memory. Adding a source of distraction to well-rehearsed information produced a normal rate of recall in FMS.

CONCLUSION:

Rehearsal mechanisms are intact in patients with FMS and play beneficial roles in managing interference from a source of distraction. In the absence of rehearsal, a source of distraction added to unrefreshed information signals a remarkable level of cognitive deficit in FMS that goes undetected by conventionally relied-upon neurocognitive measures. We present a theory to promote understanding of the cognitive deficit of people with FMS based on reduced speed of lexical activation and poor recall after distraction.

PMID:
19479690
DOI:
10.1002/art.24559
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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