Neuropsychological & psychological functioning in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

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.

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