Fatigue in the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): a cognitive phenomenon?

What is the source of the perception of excessive fatigue in the

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)? Studies of physiological

response to aerobic activity, of muscle pathology and muscle

function in CFS, are reviewed, and suggest that the

subjective report of fatigue is not due to any peripheral

impairment. In addition, current technological methods such as

electroencephalography have failed to uncover the nature of

any abnormality in the central motor unit. A physiological

model which proposes that patients with CFS possess a reduced

threshold for sensory fatigue signals is rejected, because it

fails to account for recent findings. Instead, it is

suggested that the perception of fatigue in CFS is enhanced

by idiosyncrasies in cognitive processing. The implications

of this view to our understanding of the perpetuation of CFS

as a whole are explored.

Fry AM, Martin M

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