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SPECT imaging of the brain: comparison of findings in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), AIDS dementia complex, & major unipolar depression

  [ 56 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • April 3, 1994


OBJECTIVE. Chronic fatigue syndrome is an illness of unknown
origin that begins abruptly with a flulike state and has
symptoms suggesting both a chronic viral encephalitis and an
affective disorder. We compared single-photon emission
computed tomography (SPECT) scans of patients with chronic
fatigue syndrome with those of patients with AIDS dementia
complex and unipolar depression.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS. We used
99mTc-hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime to examine 45 patients
with chronic fatigue syndrome, 27 patients with AIDS dementia
complex, and 14 patients with major unipolar depression. Scans
of 38 healthy persons were used as controls. Comparison of
regional defects between groups, as well as midcerebral uptake
indexes (an objective measure of global radionuclide uptake),
was performed by using analysis of variance with the
Student-Newman-Keuls option. Correlation between the number of
regional defects and the midcerebral uptake index was
determined by using the Spearman rank-correlation test.

RESULTS. Patients with AIDS dementia complex had the largest
number of defects (9.15 per patient) and healthy patients had
the fewest defects (1.66 per patient). Patients with chronic
fatigue syndrome and depression had similar numbers of defects
per patient (6.53 and 6.43, respectively). In all groups,
defects were located predominantly in the frontal and temporal
lobes. The midcerebral uptake index was found to be
significantly lower (p < .002) in the patients with chronic
fatigue syndrome (.667) and patients with AIDS dementia
complex (.650) than in patients with major depression (.731)
or healthy control subjects (.716). Also, a significant
negative correlation was found between the number of defects
and midcerebral uptake index in patients with chronic fatigue
syndrome and AIDS dementia complex, but not in depressed
patients or control subjects.

CONCLUSION. These findings are
consistent with the hypothesis that chronic fatigue syndrome
may be due to a chronic viral encephalitis; clinical
similarities between chronic fatigue syndrome and depression
may be due to a similar distribution and number of defects in
the two disorders.

Schwartz RB, Komaroff AL, Garada BM, Gleit M, Doolittle TH, Bates
DW,Vasile RG, Holman BL




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