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    I just wanted to thank you for letting me know about and getting me to the CAN DO program. My husband and I had a great time. We learned so many things and enjoyed the activities, meeting the people and chatting with experts. I will never forget it and hope to get to it again some day. I enjoyed a nice day recently with a bike ride (with training wheels).

    Kelly, CAN DO Program Participant

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    We often talk about the value of exercise for your health and well-being.  As it turns out, exercise is  valuable for your brain as well.  Exercise can promote production of nerve growth factors in your brain that can help with lessening the decline in cognitive function found in MS.  Physical exercise can help people with cognitive problems compensate for those problems more easily, as lower levels of exercise may cause some to struggle more.

    If you want to work on sharpening your cognitive skills, here are some suggestions:

    • - Developed specifically for MS patients through The MS Technology Collaborative, an alliance of Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Microsoft and the NMSS 
    • Developed in the United Kingdom by the MS Trust.
    • Manage the Cognitive Challenges of MS and Mental Stepping Stones: Books written by Jeffrey Gingold, an attorney who struggles with cognitive problems

    The brain itself can also exercise and many people with MS regularly do exercises that promote better function whether they have been formally diagnosed with cognitive problems or just want to do all they can to stay sharp. 

    Cognition is defined as:
    • Thinking skills
    • Understanding language and expressing yourself
    • Concentrating, shifting attention, multitasking
    • Learning and remembering new information
    • Planning and performing complex tasks
    • Solving problems

    The effects of cognitive decline can be seen in your activities of daily living such as household management, personal care and family care.  It is one of the main reasons people leave the work place or give up recreational activities that they enjoy.  It can also interfere with relationships and social interactions.

    Signs of cognitive problems may include:
    • Trouble remembering
    • Word finding problems
    • Slowness in or inability to understand what is heard or written
    • Difficulty with following directions
    • Trouble with decision making
    • Emotional changes
    • Forgetting your thought mid-sentence
    • Poor performance reviews at work
    • More hours to accomplish the same job
    • Difficulty starting or finishing a project
    • Problems with balancing the check book
    • Problems following a recipe
    • Car accidents

    If you suspect problems, formal testing can be done by a neuropsychologist, a speech/language pathologist or an occupational therapist.  They can also work with you on measures you can take to make some functions better.

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    PO Box 5860 Avon, CO 81620 Phone: 970-926-1290 or 800-367-3101 Fax: 970-926-1295 Email:
    MS Coalition Charity Navigator Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Independent Charities of America Humane Charity

    Can Do Multiple Sclerosis™ is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.
    Charitable Organization Number: 74-2337853

    Formerly The Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis | Founded by Jimmie Heuga

    A national nonprofit organization, Can Do MS is a leading provider of innovative lifestyle empowerment programs
    that empower people with MS and their support partners to transform and improve their quality of life.

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