I am frightened
My morning thoughts are Not rational
My long term memory is improving
My short term memory is getting worse and shorter

How do I know when i am demented?


My consultant says Ataxia doesn't affect memory, he is a top man, but he is wrong. Either that or I am getting dementia too, oh the joys !

My memory is very good.Ataxia has not affected the cognitive part of the brain.I have to use the rest of my brain to get round things the other part can't.Only it seems to affect some ataxias and not others.

Stress and depression can affect your early morning thinking.Stress certainly played havoc with memory and it had nothing to do with ataxia.When I gave up work and the source of my stress went and my memory came back.There's hope for you yet Barney.

My brain was a bit like a computer. It was overloaded.

I am un aware of any DEFINATE medical view on this.

Having spoken to many Ataxia (persons, sufferers, Ataxians) it is a concern of many, and it seems to differ fromperson to person.

It amazes me that with the prevalence of memory issues among the Ataxia community that any research/study has been done ???

Yes, I agree, it is the stress that affects memory .. not just ataxia related but the modern living with so many new things to learn. Whenever you buy something new, the instruction manual is like an exam paper.

Applying for blue badge, bus pass etc all adds to the stress .. dont know how people manage when they live alone especially if speech issues make it difficult to ask for help.

I used to blame it on 'senior moments' until I realised that it affects the young ones too.


Hi Barney,

I understand your fear, I have big issues with long term and for the last 6 months or so

my short term is getting worse. Serious by my standards.

The Dr. cant't do anything. I am very much it that stress is one of worse things.

I don't allow myself to dwell on where it will end up . that is added stress to me.

I find that not thinking about helps. , I any not denying it or shjuting just THink about peasenter things.

. I keep my eyes &ears open for any new info. etc.

Good Luck , Get out your favorite comedy.

Mary Elena


My husband even has to answer the phone and communicate with the DWP with its many superfluous forms.

I get stressed when I see a brown envelope on the m at.

Memory problems effect us all as we get older. I've heard that dementia is happening if your pick up something (like car keys or a hairbrush) and don't know what they are or what you use them for. It's not misplacing something or forgetting a name or number, because we know we've forgotten. Things like driving or walking somewhere and not knowing how to get home is cause for concern. I agree with others that stress and/or depression can affect memory, depression is worse especially in the morning. ;o)

We do so many things on autopilot.My mother has dementia.I was worried when she went into the wrong house,had a cup of tea witha nice young woman and couldn't remember where it was and who it was with.She lived on her own til she was 83.

I have found a report about a woman who had gait instability and cognitive decline. It came out that she had an autoimmune thyroitis which had caused an encephalopathy. Only three days of cortisone therapy were necessary to cure this! Maybe this is also what i have got. I will report you if this would have been the case! Not that my ataxia is rooted on this but perhaps a part of it.. don`t know. I will print this out and try to present it to a doctor soon.

Kind regards, Akita

Another Case:

"Progressive confusion, memory loss, and gait ataxia in an adult." Short/Abstract

A 62 year old woman had an hydrocephalus and the absorption of her cerebrospinal fluid was blocked. She was treated successfully but her problem has been recognized too late: " Given the chronic hydrocephalus and delayed presentation, the patient maintains some cognitive impairment but is improving".

Hi Barney,

i cannot understand your first sentence! Thoughts might be "not rational", but couldn t they have some positive meaning ? The passage from night and sleep to awakening in the morning has been said to be inspirative and creative..

Actually i am quite affected by similar problems with memory. Hopefully they will give me the three-days-cure with Prednisolone and this would help me. In the meantime i have to struggle. Life is sometimes so cruel and full of injustice..

I found it out to be helpful for me when my surrounding in the appartment is in order and structure. This gives my the feeling of safety and this improves my functions (i hope so)..But it costs much energy to hold everything in order and you are occupied by this work for the whole day..

For example: i must try to do my tasks always in the same way and put things on the same places. Otherwise i would not find them again. Often i do not find things, and then i remember that they should be one their right place. When i look there, they are very often on this place! Wishing you all the best and much optimism! You will improve again!

Kind regards,


Go and see your G.P. and he will give you tests and refer you if necessary.

I think it is really hard to tell the difference between problems of attention vs problems of short term memory. Ataxia effects attention. I have to "attend" before I can remember. This makes me appear to have memory issues that I do not. I just am not getting it all "in". My attention scores are very low and show me as incredibly impaired but my memory scores are okay. Divided attention and visual attention and attention swapping severely impaired. In the mornings or when my brain is not awake or too tired, I too feel irrational and agitated and deeply deranged, but once I wake up fully or have had a good rest or get my cognitive load to a reasonable amount that I can process,...I am almost fine! It is normal to feel crazy when you have a brain injury or brain disfunction. I wish I knew something that would help the morning creepiness. Morning exercise always helps me. I call it "warming up the ole brain stem" ;) maybe this would help you too?

Hi Barney,

When ataxia first started, it really did a number on my brain. It was like I had a stroke. I couldn't remember the simplest things. As the ataxia events continued before we got it under control, my memory continued to decline. I had a neurophyscological evaluation. It showed that my memory was fine but the test was given in an optimal environment and time. I was glad to know I didn't have dementia, but why do I struggle with my memory and daily tasks. I know that my brain has been scrambled, but I have slowly gotten better. My doctor says the brain is finding new routes to go around the damaged areas. It's been four years now. I am sooooo much better, but I still struggle everyday. I've also accepted the new me, so I don't get frustrated about what I can't do or remember. Ahbee

It's just my theory Ahbee, but I think ataxia causes memory problems because we're concentrating so heavily on movement and balance issues. At least it's true for me! I used to be able to multi-task (before ataxia), not so much anymore!

My thoughts too.. we have to assess the situation as to how we are going to step, sit, perch, etc BEFORE we do anything and frequently forget what it was we were going to do!!

People tell you to write things down, but by the time I am ready to write, I have forgotten it!

Patsy x

Ditto Rose and Patsy! I also read, and strongly agree that when your brain has to sort out flawed information, i.e.; poor vestibular, vision, proprioception it takes even longer to process because it has to "throw out" the wrong info. I know for my poor little brain that it's exhausting living in a world that is constantly moving and or legs that only occasionally go where they are supposed to and eyes that can't fixate. But, when I support those defunct systems, I'm still the brilliant person I always was! ;-)

LOL ..Love it Blueberry x

Right on Patsy and Blueberry!!! It's so wonderful to have others to relate to! We may have ataxia, but ataxia doesn't have us...,ha!