Brain MR in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

PURPOSE: To determine the prevalence of MR white matter
abnormalities in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

METHODS: Brain MR studies of 43 patients (29 women and 14 men,
22 to 78 years old) with a clinical diagnosis of CFS (n = 15),
CFS with associated depression (n = 14), and CFS with
associated other psychiatric disorders, namely, anxiety and
somatization disorder (n = 14), were compared with brain MR
studies in 43 age- and sex-matched control subjects.

MR findings were abnormal in 13 (32%) of the patients in the
study group (ages 34 to 78 years) and in 12 (28%) of the
control subjects (ages 26 to 73 years). One patient with CFS
had multiple areas of demyelination in the supratentorial
periventricular white matter. Another patient with CFS and
associated depression had a single focus of probable
demyelination in the supratentorial periventricular white
matter. In four patients with CFS (ages 34 to 48 years) MR
abnormalities consisted of one or several punctate
hyperintense foci in the corona radiata, centrum ovale, and
frontal white matter. The remaining seven patients (ages 50 to
78 years) had frontoparietal subcortical white matter foci of
high T2 signal. The prevalence of white matter
hyperintensities was not different between the patients and
the control subjects.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that
no MR pattern of white matter abnormalities is specific to

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