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Cognitive impairments associated with CFS and POTS.

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By L. Shanks et al. • • June 17, 2013

Editor's Comment: This interesting review of the medical literature for CFS/ME and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) discusses shared features of both illnesses that might contribute to "brain fog": e.g., reduced blood flow and neurotransmitter dysregulation. The researchers conclude: "Further research should focus on the central nervous system as a possible gateway of understanding the etiology of these disorders..."

Editor's Note: The full text of this study can be read HERE.

By L. Shanks et al.


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterized by fatigue, sleep dysfunction, and cognitive deficits (Fukuda et al., 1994). Research surrounding cognitive functioning among patients with CFS has found difficulty with memory, attention, and information processing. A similar disorder, postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), is characterized by increased heart rate, fatigue, and mental cloudiness (Raj et al., 2009). Potential implications of cognitive deficits for patients with CFS and/or POTS are discussed, including difficulties with school and/or employment.

A few biological theories (i.e., kindling, impairments in the central nervous system, and difficulty with blood flow) have emerged as potential explanations for the cognitive deficits reported in both CFS and POTS Future research should continue to examine possible explanations for cognitive impairments in CFS and POTS, and ultimately use this information to try and reduce cognitive impairments for these patients.

Source: Front Physiol. 2013 May 16;4:113. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00113. Print 2013. Shanks L, Jason LA, Evans M, Brown A.Center for Community Research, DePaul University Chicago, IL, USA.

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