Disturbances of memory, concentration and motor function are often reported by patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The present study objectively evaluated these behavioral problems using a computerized test battery measuring memory, attention and motor skills. Fifty-seven CFS patients were compared with 19 matched controls and all subjects completed the performance test battery and filled in questionnaires measuring psychopathology and mood. The patients reported significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety, physical symptoms and cognitive failures than the controls. Similarly, they reported more negative affect at the time of testing. The patients were slower on psychomotor tasks, showed increased visual sensitivity and impaired attention. Digit span and free recall were not impaired but retrieval from semantic memory and logical reasoning were slower. None of the performance differences between patients and controls could be attributed to differences in psychopathology. These results agree with recent findings from other laboratories, and it is now time to consider the nature of the neurological dysfunction underlying these effects.
Br J Psychol 1993 Aug;84 ( Pt 3):411-23.
Health Psychology Research Unit, School of Psychology, University of Wales College of Cardiff.
PMID: 8401992, UI: 94005500