Neurobiology of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

1. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterized by a new onset of

significant fatigue for a period of six months or longer

usually following an infection, injury or period of high


2. The exact etiology of CFS is not known and a

diagnostic test is not available. Hence, the diagnosis is

made by exclusion of other explanations for the patient’s

symptoms and by meeting the CDC research case definitions.

Early studies supported an infectious or immune dysregulation

hypothesis for the pathophysiology of CFS.

3. Subsequent

studies documented that neurological, affective and cognitive

symptoms also occur at high rates in CFS patients.

Neuropsychological, neuroendocrine studies and brain imaging

have now confirmed the occurrence of neurobiological

abnormalities in most patients with CFS.

4. In this article,

the authors review these findings in relation to the clinical

neurobiology of CFS and their potential relevance to

biological psychiatry.

Gonzalez MB, Cousins JC, Doraiswamy PM

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