Skeletal muscle weakness often occurs in patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ME/CFS, by Yves Jammes, Frederique Retornaz in Journal of Experimental Neurology Vol 1, #2, pp 35-39, May 14, 2020



  • Altered muscle function often occurs in ME/CFS patients.
  • Reduced handgrip strength is proportional to lowered physical performance
  • Muscle fatigue could result from altered muscle excitability at work
  • Reduced central motor command is also documented in relation of encephalomyelitis
  • Subgroups of ME/CFS patients without muscle weakness are documented

Research abstract:

hand grip dynamometerThis commentary complements data reported in Clinical Biomechanics reporting reduced maximal handgrip strength in numerous patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) in proportion to their lowered maximal physical performances.

The causes of muscle weakness in these patients are open to discussion. Literature data reveal a reduction of central command to skeletal muscles in some ME/CFS patients, related to encephalomyelitis.

Altered muscle membrane excitability, that is ‘peripheral fatigue’, is also described in
relation with an imbalance of the oxidant/anti-oxidant status. On the other hand, subgroups of chronically fatigued patients with clinical criteria of ME/CFS do not suffer from any muscle weakness.

Thus, clinical data do not sufficiently clarify homogeneous ME/CFS pathology.

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