The delayed fatigue effect in myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)

By Megan A. Arrolla at al.

Abstract

Background: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating, long-term condition characterised by extreme fatigue (worsened by exertion), muscle and joint pain, and sleep disturbance. Post-exertional fatigue has been demonstrated previously following physical exercise, but not from mental exertion alone.

Purpose: The aim of this exploratory study was to assess the ‘delayed fatigue effect,’ in this instance fatigue two days post-challenge, following a cognitively fatiguing task.

Methods: Thirty-two participants (23 women; mean age 44, SD = 11.24; mean illness duration nine years, SD = 7.32) completed the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, which acted as the cognitive challenge. Self-report measures were also completed that assessed fatigue (Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory; MFI), and anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; HADS) pre- and two days post-testing.

Results: Significant differences were found between pre- and post-test measures in three MFI sub-scales of fatigue (general, mental, and physical) and on the depression scale of the HADS. However, there were no significant changes in motivation, activity level, or self-reported anxiety scores.

Conclusions: These findings are suggestive of post-exertional symptom exacerbation following mental effort. This may have implications for working environments that present cognitive demands to individuals with ME/CFS.

Source: Megan A. Arrolla, Elizabeth A. Attree, John M. O’Leary and Christine P. Dancey. Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior. Volume 2, Issue 2, 2014.
 

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One thought on “The delayed fatigue effect in myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)”

  1. shianne7 says:

    I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND THESE ARTICLES AND CONCLUSIONS. I HAVE SUFFERED WITH SYMPTOMS SINCE 1990 OR BEFORE. IT STARTED WITH PAIN EVERYWHERE,FLU SYMPTOMS,ECT….WHERE I AM FROM, THE DOCTORS LOOK AT ME LIKE I AM CRAZY AND NEVER GIVE ME TEST OR ANYTHING. MY ILLNESS HAS BEEN A NIGHTMARE TO SAY THE LEAST!!! WHEN I FIRST GOT SICK, I WOULD HAVE SPELLS WITH THE LEAST BIT OF STRESS. MY BRAIN WOULD FEEL LIKE IT WAS GOING TO SHUT DOWN. SOON AFTER, I WOULD BE SO MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY FATIGUED, THAT I WOULD THINK I WAS GOING TO PASS OUT AND NEVER RECOVER. IT IS 20 YEARS LATER AND I AM WORSE THAN EVER. I CAN BARELY FUNCTION TO ADD 2PLUS2 SOME DAYS. SO,HOW CAN THIS ARTICLE STATE THESE FACTS BY JUST TESTING THEM??? OR- DO THEY EVEN HAVE CFS??? OR DO I???? I HOPE BEFORE I LEAVE THIS WORLD I PRAY THAT ALL SUFFERERS OF THIS NIGHTMARE FROM HELL ARE SHOWN SOME COMPASSION AND GET RELIEF!!!!! STAY ON YOUR DOCTORS AND IF YOU ARE NOT TOO SICK, DON’T LET THEM HUMILIATE YOU AND MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE NOT WORTH LIVING!!

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