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Organic brain dysfunction suggested

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Researchers studied CFS patients and sedentary controls with tests designed to measure instinctive and learned reaction to sensory stimulation, using sound associated with a puff of air directed toward the eyeball in order to cause the subject to blink. They found that the CFS patients reacted normally to the puff of air — that is, they instinctively blinked — but they were slow to make the association between the puff of air and the sound. The patients should have “learned” to blink at the sound alone after it was presented repeatedly at the same time as the puff of air. In other words, the CFS patients reacted normally to the stimuli themselves but were abnormally slow to learn new reactions to stimuli. The researchers say that this indicates an “associative deficit,” and that CFS patients are probably suffering from “organic brain dysfunction within a defined neural substrate.”

Servatius, R.J., et. al. (April 20, 1998). Impaired associative learning in chronic fatigue syndrome. Neuroreport, 9:6, pp. 1153–1157

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