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Vestibular function test anomalies in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 26 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • January 6, 1995

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is distinguished by the new onset of
debilitating fatigue that lasts at least 6 months, concomitant
with other symptoms to be described later. Many CFS patients
complain of disequilibrium, yet the exact type of the balance
dysfunction and its function and its location (peripheral vs.
central) have not been described. Herein we report results of
vestibular function testing performed on 11 CFS patients.

These results revealed no predominant pattern of
abnormalities. Patients typically performed below average in
dynamic posturography testing, with a significant number of
falls in the tests requiring subjects to depend heavily on the
vestibular system. One patient had abnormal caloric testing,
while 3 had abnormally low earth vertical axis rotation (EVA)
gains at the higher frequencies tested. As a group, the
average gain of EVA was significantly lower than normals in
the 0.1 - 1.0 Hz range (p < 0.05). In earth horizontal axis
rotation, the CFS group had a higher than normal bias value
for the optokinetic (OKN) and eyes open in the dark conditions
(p < 0.05), but had normal scores during visual vestibular
reflex testing. Five of the 11 subjects had an abnormal OKN
bias build up over the course of the run, equal to or actually
exceeding the 60 degrees/s target velocity by as much as 14
degrees/s. Altogether, these results are more suggestive of
central nervous system deficits than of peripheral vestibular

Ash-Bernal R, Wall C 3rd, Komaroff AL, Bell D, Oas JG, Payman RN,
Fagioli LR

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