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Are Occasional Memory Lapses Common in Myelofibrosis?

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Published on November 7, 2016

Are memory issues typical for patients with myelofibrosis? Is aspirin the answer? In this Ask the Expert segment, Dr. Prithviraj Bose from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, responds to a viewer question related to trouble concentrating and memory lapses associated with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).

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Transcript | Are Occasional Memory Lapses Common in Myelofibrosis?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Here's a question we got in from Teresa. She says, I'm a 31?year?old patient from Slovenia, in Europe, who was diagnosed with primary myelofibrosis at just age 29, which was discovered after having a severe abdominal pain, which was a consequence of portal vein thrombosis.  I'm having trouble with occasional memory lapses. Do you have any experience with this in other patients?  I was advised to take a low dose of aspirin two times a week to improve circulation in the brain.

So that sounds interesting.

Dr. Bose:

It is interesting. So myelofibrosis has a thrombosis rate of about 7 percent. So while we focus more on thrombosis in ET and PV, it does occur in myelofibrosis, and she clearly had such an event, the portal vein thrombosis.  So given that background, I think it is reasonable to take an aspirin. 

However, to answer the second part of it, which is the memory lapses, yes, patients report that, absolutely. It is a recognized MPN symptom. However, to take aspirin to improve circulation to the brain I think is not backed by data, so I couldn't recommend it for that reason. But in somebody who has had a thrombotic event, I think it is very reasonable. 

Andrew Schorr:

I got a question I’ve got to ask. Dr. Bose, is it possible that somebody—and I wonder about myself sometimes living with myelofibrosis five years, where I have memory lapses, is that any connection with an MPN, and if so, why?

Dr. Bose:

So I don't think we know why, but I think it is well described.  You know, Dr. Mesa of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona has done many studies now looking at the symptom burden of MPNs, and memory lapses, trouble concentrating are well recognized.  I don't think we understand why. 

Andrew Schorr:

Hmmm. Okay.  I'm going to tell my wife it's my myelofibrosis.  But not severe? 

Dr. Bose:

Generally not severe, no. Right.  We don't find it to be a very common or disabling symptom.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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