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Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2011 Jan 19. [Epub ahead of
Cognitive deficits in patients
with chronic fatigue syndrome
compared to those with major
depressive disorder and healthy
Constant EL, Adam S, Gillain B, Lambert M,
Masquelier E, Seron X.
Department of Psychiatry, Université Catholique de
Louvain, 1200 Brussels, Belgium
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients report
usually cognitive complaints. They also have
frequently comorbid depression that can be
considered a possible explanation for their cognitive
We evaluated the cognitive performance of patients
with CFS in comparison with a control group of
healthy volunteers and a group of patients with MDD.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
Twenty-five patients with CFS, 25 patients with
major depressive disorder (MDD), and 25 healthy
control subjects were given standardized tests of
attention, working memory, and verbal and visual
episodic memory, and were also tested for effects
related to lack of effort/simulation, suggestibility,
Patients with CFS had slower phasic alertness, and
also had impaired working, visual and verbal episodic
memory compared to controls.
They were, however, no more sensitive than the
other groups to suggestibility or to fatigue induced
during the cognitive session.
Cognitive impairments in MDD patients were strongly
associated with depression and subjective fatigue; in
patients with CFS, there was a weaker correlation
between cognition and depression (and no
correlation with fatigue).
This study confirms the presence of an objective
impairment in attention and memory in patients
with CFS but with good mobilization of effort and
without exaggerated suggestibility.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PMID: 21255911 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]