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Changes in Functional Status in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Over a Decade: Do Age and Gender Matter?

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By Rosalind M. Matthews and Anthony L. Komaroff • • December 13, 2006

Journal: Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, vol. 14, No. 1, 2007 [Abstract published online ahead of article, which is not yet available] Authors: Rosalind M. Matthews, Anthony L. Komaroff. DOI: 10.1300/

Objective: Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) have substantial deficits in functional capacity, but the course of these deficits over time has not often been studied. This study measured functional capacity on three occasions over a decade, in patients with CFS

Methods: The study was a longitudinal cohort study, and employed the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 (SF-36) instrument to assess physical and mental/ emotional functional status.

Results: Physical function, as reflected in several different scales, improved modestly but significantly over time, particularly for patients aged 18-60 years and for women. Mental/emotional function was not substantially impaired at the outset of the study, and did not change over time.

Conclusion: This study found that physical function tended to improve for many patients over time, despite the fact that they were aging. Physical function did not deteriorate with time.

Keywords: CFS, functional status, SF-36, subgroups, over time

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