Cognitive deficits in chronic fatigue syndrome and their relationship to psychological status, symptomatology, and everyday functioning

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~Source: Neuropsychology. March 27, 2013.

 By SJ Cockshell and JL Mathias

Abstract

Objective: To examine cognitive deficits in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and their relationship to psychological status, CFS symptoms, and everyday functioning.

Method: The current study compared the cognitive performance (reaction time, attention, memory, motor functioning, verbal abilities, and visuospatial abilities) of a sample with CFS (n = 50) with that of a sample of healthy controls (n = 50), all of whom had demonstrated high levels of effort and an intention to perform well, and examined the extent to which psychological status, CFS symptoms, and everyday functioning were related to cognitive performance.

Results: The CFS group showed impaired information processing speed (reaction time), relative to the controls, but comparable performance on tests of attention, memory, motor functioning, verbal ability, and visuospatial ability. Moreover, information processing speed was not related to psychiatric status, depression, anxiety, the number or severity of CFS symptoms, fatigue, sleep quality, or everyday functioning.

Conclusion: A slowing in information processing speed appears to be the main cognitive deficit seen in persons with CFS whose performance on effort tests is not compromised. Importantly, this slowing does not appear to be the consequence of other CFS-related variables, such as depression and fatigue, or motor speed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

Source: Neuropsychology. 2013 Mar;27(2):230-42. doi: 10.1037/a0032084.  Cockshell SJ, MathiasJL.

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2 thoughts on “Cognitive deficits in chronic fatigue syndrome and their relationship to psychological status, symptomatology, and everyday functioning”

  1. IanH says:

    These results contradict patients reports and experiences. Why??
    Bad research or bad patient attribution?

  2. IanH says:

    If you have a slowing of information processing then you would expect to find a deficit in attention and short term memory. That is, if it is done correctly. These three variables are not independent.

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