A study conducted at the University of Michigan has showed that fuzzy thinking may be caused by depression. If you feel that you can no longer think clear and experience fuzzy thinking, fatigue and simply feel that your thought are not as sharp as they used to be these may necessarily be symptoms of Alzheimer’s but signs of brain disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder.
Researchers from the Medical School and Depression Centre at the University of Michigan analyzed 612 women among which two thirds had experienced severe depression or bipolar disorder. They were asked to take part in a test which required sustained concentration. They had to react quickly to particular letters which were briefly flashed on a screen among a random sequence of other letters.
The results showed that women who suffered from depression or bipolar disorder lagged significantly on the test of cognitive control, whereas women with no mental health conditions performed better.
The researchers also discovered that brain scans show that the fuzzy thinking effect is real. As the brain scans showed, compared to healthy women, the women with depression and bipolar disorder had different levels of activity in a certain area of the brain known as the right posterior parietal cortex. Women with depression had an increased activity in this area when compared to healthy women, whereas women with bipolar disorder had a lower level of activity. The right posterior parietal cortex is the area responsible for the control of executive functions which include activities such as reasoning, working memory and problem solving.
Neuropsychologist Kelly Ryan of the University of Michigan said that the study shows a shared cognitive dysfunction in the case of women who suffer from mood disorders. According to him the cognitive dysfunctions were clearly noticed in the cognitive control tests and confirmed by the brain scans. Ryan also remarked:
“These findings support the idea of seeing mood disorders dimensionally, as a continuum of function to dysfunction across illnesses that are more alike than distinct.”
Although psychiatry usually examines specific categories or diagnoses, Ryan said that neurobiology cannot be seen as categorical. Researchers cannot find big differences between what clinicians perceive as categories of a disorder. This questions the accuracy of traditional diagnoses, he added.
People who have experienced fuzzy thinking describe it as a state in which you feel like you have no mental agility and in which every though is very difficult to extract.
Image Source: eMedCore