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Background: Headaches are more frequent in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) than healthy control (HC) subjects. The 2004 International Headache Society (IHS) criteria were used to define CFS headache types.
Subjects in Cohort 1 (HC = 368; CFS = 203) completed questionnaires about many diverse symptoms by giving nominal (yes/no) answers.
Cohort 2 (HC = 21; CFS =67) had more focused evaluations. They scored symptom severities on 0 to 4 anchored ordinal scales, and had structured headache evaluations. All subjects had history and physical examinations; assessments for exclusion criteria; questionnaires about CFS related symptoms (0 to 4 scale), Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI) and Medical Outcome Survey Short Form 36 (MOS SF-36).
• Demographics, trends for the number of diffuse "functional" symptoms present, and severity of CFS case designation criteria symptoms were equivalent between CFS subjects in Cohorts 1 and 2.
• HC had significantly fewer symptoms, lower MFI and higher SF-36 domain scores than CFS in both cohorts.
• Migraine headaches were found in 84%, and tension-type headaches in 81% of Cohort 2 CFS.
• This compared to 5% and 45%, respectively, in HC.
The CFS group had:
• Migraine without aura (60%; MO; CFS+MO),
• With aura (24%; CFS+MA),
• Tension headaches only (12%),
• Or no headaches (4%).
• Co-morbid tension and migraine headaches were found in 67% of CFS.
CFS+Migraine without aura (MO) had:
• Higher severity scores than CFS+Migraine with aura (MA) for the sum of scores for poor memory, dizziness, balance, and numbness ("Neuro-construct", p=0.002)
• And perceived heart rhythm disturbances, palpitations and noncardiac chest pain ("Cardio-construct"; p=0.045, t-tests after Bonferroni corrections).
CFS+MO subjects had lower pressure-induced pain thresholds (2.36 kg [1.95-2.78; 95% C.I.] n=40) and a higher prevalence of fibromyalgia (47%; 1990 criteria) compared to HC (5.23% [3.95-6.52] n=20; and 0%, respectively).
Sumatriptan was beneficial for 13 out of 14 newly diagnosed CFS migraine subjects.
Conclusions: CFS subjects had higher prevalences of migraine without aura (MO) and migraine with aura (MA) than healthy controls, suggesting that mechanisms of migraine pathogenesis such as central sensitization may contribute to CFS pathophysiology.
Clinical Trial Registration: Georgetown University IRB # 2006-481, ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00810329.
Source: BMC Neurology, Mar 5, 2011. Ravindran MK, Zheng Y, Timbol C, Merck SJ, Baraniuk JN. Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA. [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]