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Ronessa is a first-year graduate student in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at McMaster University. In 2022, she completed her Bachelor’s in Cognitive Science, with a concentration in Neuroscience, at Carleton University. During her undergraduate degree she worked in numerous labs and received Academic Proficiency Scholarships. Ronessa’s current research interests include brain fog, cognition and chronic pain, and EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion). Her current work with the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans will examine brain fog in Veterans with chronic pain.

Project Title:

Understanding the Experience and Impacts of Brain Fog in Veterans


Brain fog is a poorly studied concept that many people with chronic pain experience. People living with brain fog have noted the experience of brain fog changes from day-to-day and moment-to-moment, but often interferes with planning, thinking and memory tasks.  These changes may limit their ability and motivation to participate in meaningful daily activities. Veterans with chronic pain are especially at risk of experiencing brain fog because they may have other health risks related to or resulting from their service. Our study will help to understand how Veterans experience brain fog by comparing interviews of Veterans with and without chronic pain. This will help us to create relevant evaluations and treatments to help Veterans manage this experience and participate in their everyday activities.  


The aims of this study are:

1) Obtain an understanding of the experience of brain fog in Veterans with and without chronic pain, including symptoms, impact on functional activities, and potentially modifiable factors
2) Determine differences in SGBA+ groups including sex, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status
3) Examine differences in the brain fog experience in chronic pain vs non chronic pain groups
4) Compare within group differences in performance on standardized evaluations and experiences reported in the focus group context


This study will provide an understanding how brain fog is perceived and experienced by the Veterans with and without chronic pain and will identify gaps in knowledge and opportunities for knowledge generation and translation to improve understanding and awareness of this lived experience. This information will lay the foundation to direct future research in this area by identifying potential mechanisms and moderators, as well as patient-important priorities for investigation. This project will also help to fill a significant gap in chronic pain treatment for Veterans by helping reduce the burden of this condition and promoting a positive quality of life.

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