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Memory, attention, & executive function in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 56 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • May 27, 1996


OBJECTIVES--To examine cognitive function in chronic fatigue
syndrome.
METHODS--Twenty patients with chronic fatigue
syndrome recruited from primary care and 20 matched normal
controls were given CANTAB computerised tests of visuospatial
memory, attention, and executive function, and verbal tests of
letter and category fluency and word association learning.

RESULTS: Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were impaired,
predominantly in the domain of memory but their pattern of
performance was unlike that of patients with amnesic syndrome
or dementia. They were normal on tests of spatial pattern
recognition memory, simultaneous and delayed matching to
sample, and pattern-location association learning. They were
impaired on tests of spatial span, spatial working memory, and
a selective reminding condition of the pattern-location
association learning test. An executive test of planning was
normal. In an attentional test, eight subjects with chronic
fatigue syndrome were unable to learn a response set; the
remainder exhibited no impairment in the executive set
shifting phase of the test. Patients with chronic fatigue
syndrome were also impaired on verbal tests of unrelated word
association learning and letter fluency.

CONCLUSION--Patients
with chronic fatigue syndrome have reduced attentional
capacity resulting in impaired performance on effortful tasks
requiring planned or self ordered generation of responses from
memory.

MCM: Studied cognition and memory in 20 CFS vs. 20 controls.
Found CFS pts were impaired on tests of spatial span, spatial
working memory, and a selective reminding conditionof the
pattern-location association learning test. In an attentional
test, 8 CFS ptst were unable to learn a response set... Pts w
CFS were also impaired on verbal tests of unrelated word
association learning and letter fluency.

Joyce E, Blumenthal S, Wessely S




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