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Cognitive Dysfunction in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a Review of Recent Evidence

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By E. Cvejic et al.


Cognitive difficulties represent a common and debilitating feature of the enigmatic chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). These difficulties manifest as self-reported problems with attention, memory, and concentration and present objectively as slowed information processing speed particularly on complex tasks requiring sustained attention.

The mechanisms underlying cognitive dysfunction remain to be established; however, alterations in autonomic nervous system activity and cerebral blood flow have been proposed as possibilities. Heterogeneity in the experience of cognitive impairment, as well as differences in the methods utilised to quantify dysfunction, may contribute to the difficulties in establishing plausible biological underpinnings.

The development of a brief neurocognitive battery specifically tailored to CFS and adoption by the international research community would be beneficial in establishing a profile of cognitive dysfunction. This could also provide better insights into the underlying biological mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction in CFS and enhance the development of targeted treatments.

Source: Cvejic E, Birch RC, Vollmer-Conna U. Cognitive Dysfunction in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a Review of Recent Evidence. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2016 May;18(5):24. doi: 10.1007/s11926-016-0577-9.

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