Attention & information processing efficiency in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

In this study a battery of attentional tests and a verbal memory

task were administered to outpatients with Chronic Fatigue

Syndrome (CFS) in order to evaluate aspects of attention that

have not been explored in this group to date. In addition,

this study was designed to further examine memory function and

to extend the few reports investigating the rate of cognitive

processing independent of motor speed and the possibility of a

modality-specific impairment of information processing.

Twenty-nine patients with CFS and 22 healthy controls matched

for age, gender, intelligence, and education were included in

this study. The results show that patients with CFS do not

seem to be impaired for modification of phasic arousal level,

nor for visual selective attention requiring shifting of

attention in the visuospatial field. The results further

support the presence of reduced information processing speed

and efficiency, and strengthen the evidence of a global

non-modality-specific attentional dysfunction in patients with

CFS. In this study the poor performance of patients with CFS

on recall of verbal information was due to poor initial

storage rather than to a retrieval failure.

Michiels V, de Gucht V, Cluydts R, Fischler B

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