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Diurnal variation of adrenocortical activity in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

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By MacHale SM, Cavanagh JT, Bennie J, Carroll S, Goodwin GM, Lawrie SM • www.ProHealth.com • November 22, 1998


Baseline morning and evening serum cortisol and ACTH concentrations,
and diurnal changes in hormone levels, were measured in 30
patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) but without
concurrent depressive disorder and a control group of 15
weight-, age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers. Morning
cortisol levels were non-significantly lower in CFS patients,
while evening levels were non-significantly higher. ACTH
concentrations were non-significantly higher in both the
morning and evening. The diurnal change in cortisol levels was
significantly less in CFS than in controls (p < 0.05). In CFS
subjects, evening levels of cortisol correlated significantly
with measures of general health and physical functioning,
while diurnal change in cortisol was positively correlated
with measures of functional improvement over the past year and
current social functioning. These results suggest that there
is a relationship between adrenocortical function and
disability in CFS, but do not reveal the causal connection.




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