Is Chronic fatigue syndrom (CFS) related to a crash of the brain attention mechanism – Hypervigilance correlates with fatigue and pain scales among individuals with CFS, by Camilla Marylene Minani. Master thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2019.


Research abstract:

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disabling condition. About 70–85% of those affected attribute their daily dysfunction to reduced cognitive abilities and muscle pains in various parts of the body.

Neuroimaging studies point to structural and functional abnormalities of the central nervous system, with no relationship to the reported fatigue and pain scales. This complicates the development of the diagnosis. Evidence shows that mental fatigue and pain affect the efficiency of cognitive control.

Event-related potentials (ERPs) recorded from the human scalp provide essential information about how the human brain normally processes information and about how this processing becomes abnormal in neurological or psychiatric disorders.

Method: A visual continuous performance task (vCPT) requires sustained attention to respond to relevant visual cues and refrain from responding to irrelevant stimuli. In this study, after completing the Chalder and pain inventory tests, a vCPT test was administered to 42 individuals complying with the Fukuda criteria of CFS diagnosis.

Event-related potentials (ERPs), which show direct brain response to stimuli, were retrieved and compared to a database of health 102 health individuals. A correlation and regression analysis of the ERPs was then conducted and compared to self-rated fatigue and pain inventory tests.

Results and Discussion: Compared to the database, an enhanced P3cue component reflected hyper-vigilance amongst unexplained chronic fatigue patients along with delayed motor response and reduced error-detection resources, indicating abnormalities in executive function. This suggests that CFS could be related to central sensitisation due to long-term stress exposure.

Full paper not available

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