Cortical motor potential alterations in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

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Premovement, sensory, and cognitive brain potentials were

recorded from patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in

four tasks: i) target detection, ii) short-term memory, iii)

self-paced movement, and iv) expectancy and reaction time

(CNV). Accuracy and reaction times (RTs) were recorded for

tasks i, ii, and iv. Results from CFS patients were compared

to a group of healthy normals. Reaction times were slower for

CFS patients in target detection and significantly slower in

the short-term memory task compared to normals. In target

detection, the amplitude of a premovement readiness potential

beginning several hundred milliseconds prior to stimulus onset

was reduced in CFS, whereas the poststimulus sensory (N100)

and cognitive brain potentials (P300) did not differ in

amplitude or latency. In the memory task, a negative potential

related to memory load was smaller in CFS than normals. The

potentials to self-paced movements and to expectancy and RT

(CNV) were not different between groups. The findings in CFS

of slowed RTs and reduced premovement-related potentials

suggest that central motor mechanisms accompanying motor

response preparation were impaired in CFS for some tasks. In

contrast, measures of neural processes related to both sensory

encoding (N100) and to stimulus classification (P300) were

normal in CFS.

Gordon R, Michalewski HJ, Nguyen T, Gupta S, Starr A

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