Neuropsychological and psychological functioning in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Although patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) typically present subjective complaints of cognitive and psychological difficulties, studies to date have provided mixed objective support for the existence of specific cognitive deficits. The present study was designed to examine differences in performance between individuals diagnosed with CFS and matched controls with respect to sustained attention, processing efficiency, learning, and memory. Subjects included 17 patients meeting Centers for Disease Control research criteria for CFS and 17 control subjects. Subjects were administered six measures assessing attention, memory, and word finding ability and two measures assessing psychological distress. For the most part, the two groups did not differ on measures of neurocognitive functioning. Significant group differences were found on a single measure of attention and incidental memory. However, CFS patients differed markedly from controls with respect to reported psychological distress. The results support previous findings of notable levels of psychological distress among CFS patients. They also suggest the need for alternative research paradigms to assess the cognitive abilities of CFS patients.


Neuropsychiatry Neuropsychol Behav Neurol 1997 Jan;10(1):25-31.

Department of Psychology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, MD 21201,USA.

PMID: 9118194, UI: 97207726

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