Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Memory, Depression, and Neurobiology

Psychosocial factors involved in memory and cognitive failures in
people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
Elizabeth A Attree,1 Megan A Arroll,1 Christine P Dancey,1 Charlene
Griffith,1 Amolak S Bansal1,2

Published Date February 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 67 - 76

Received: 28 June 2013
Accepted:25 October 2013
Published:25 February 2014

1Chronic Illness Research Team, School of Psychology, University of
East London, London, UK; 2Department of Immunology and the Sutton CFS
Service, St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, UK

Background: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
(ME/CFS) is characterized by persistent emotional, mental, and
physical fatigue accompanied by a range of neurological, autonomic,
neuroendocrine, immune, and sleep problems. Research has shown that
psychosocial factors such as anxiety and depression as well as the
symptoms of the illness, have a significant impact on the quality of
life of people with ME/CFS. In addition, individuals may suffer from
deficits in memory and concentration. This study set out to explore
the relationships between variables which have been found to
contribute to cognitive performance, as measured by prospective and
retrospective memory, and cognitive failures.

Methods: Eighty-seven people with ME/CFS answered questionnaires
measuring fatigue, depression, anxiety, social support, and general
self-efficacy. These were used in a correlational design (multiple
regression) to predict cognitive function (self-ratings on prospective
and retrospective memory), and cognitive failures.

Results: Our study found that fatigue, depression, and general
self-efficacy were directly associated with cognitive failures and
retrospective (but not prospective) memory.

Conclusion: Although it was not possible in this study to determine
the cause of the deficits, the literature in this area leads us to
suggest that although the pathophysiological mechanisms of ME/CFS are
unclear, abnormalities in the immune system, including proinflammatory
cytokines, can lead to significant impairments in cognition. We
suggest that fatigue and depression may be a result of the
neurobiological effects of ME/CFS
and in addition, that the
neurobiological effects of the illness may give rise to both fatigue
and cognitive deficits independently.

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