Chronic fatigue syndrome

Department of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 45.22). 02/2006; 367(9507):346-55. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68073-2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT During the past two decades, there has been heated debate about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) among researchers, practitioners, and patients. Few illnesses have been discussed so extensively. The existence of the disorder has been questioned, its underlying pathophysiology debated, and an effective treatment opposed; patients' organisations have participated in scientific discussions. In this review, we look back on several controversies over CFS with respect to its definition, diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment. We review issues of epidemiology and clinical manifestations, focusing on the scientific status of CFS. Modern neuroscience and genetics research offer interesting findings for new hypotheses on the aetiology and pathogenesis of the illness. We also discuss promising future issues, such as psychopathophysiology and mechanisms of improvement, and suggest multidisciplinary prospective studies of CFS and fatigue in the general population. These studies should pay particular attention to similarities to and differences from functional somatic syndromes and other fatiguing conditions.

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    ABSTRACT: Neuroticism is the personality dimension most frequently associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Most studies have also shown that CFS patients are less extraverted than non-CFS patients, but results have been inconsistent, possibly because the facets of the extraversion dimension have not been separately analyzed. This study has the following aims: to assess the personality profile of adults with CFS using the Alternative Five-Factor Model (AFFM), which considers Activity and Sociability as two separate factors of Extraversion, and to test the discriminant validity of a measure of the AFFM, the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire, in differentiating CFS subjects from normal-range matched controls. The CFS sample consisted of 132 consecutive patients referred for persistent fatigue or pain to the Department of Medicine of a university hospital. These were compared with 132 matched normal population controls. Significantly lower levels of Activity and significantly higher levels of Neuroticism-Anxiety best discriminated CFS patients from controls. The results are consistent with existing data on the relationship between Neuroticism and CFS, and clarify the relationship between Extraversion and CFS by providing new data on the relationship of Activity to CFS.
    05/2014; 216(3). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.02.031
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    ABSTRACT: Pain is a common symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). We investigated the effects of the treatments used in the PACE trial [cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), graded exercise therapy (GET), adaptive pacing therapy (APT) and specialist medical care (SMC)] on pain in CFS. We compared pain outcomes including individual painful symptoms, taken from the CDC criteria for CFS and co-morbid fibromyalgia. We modelled outcomes adjusting for baseline variables with multiple linear regression. Significantly less frequent muscle pain was reported by patients following treatment with CBT compared to SMC (mean difference = 0.38 unit change in frequency, p = 0.02), GET versus SMC (0.42, p = 0.01) and GET versus APT (0.37, p = 0.01). Significantly less joint pain was reported following CBT versus APT (0.35, p = 0.02) and GET versus APT (0.36, p = 0.02). Co-morbid fibromyalgia was less frequent following GET versus SMC (0.03, p = 0.03). The effect sizes of these differences varied between 0.25 and 0.31 for muscle pain and 0.24 and 0.26 for joint pain. Treatment effects on pain were independent of 'change in fatigue'. CBT and GET were more effective in reducing the frequency of both muscle and joint pain than APT and SMC. When compared to SMC, GET also reduced the frequency of co-morbid fibromyalgia; the size of this effect on pain was small.
    Psychological Medicine 08/2013; 44(7):1-8. DOI:10.1017/S0033291713002201 · 5.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a serious condition characterized by debilitating but unexplained fatigue. Treatment alternatives are few, and especially so for young people. The aetiology of CFS/ME is still unclear and controversial, but rehabilitative interventions seem so far most promising. The Lightning Process is a 3-day training programme that has recently become available, but no outcome studies have yet been published. It is a non-medical training programme that combines concepts from Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Life Coaching and Osteopathy. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of young people with CFS/ME after they had undergone the Lightning Process. DESIGN: Qualitative research study. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with an opportunistic sample recruited through open advertisements of nine young people, aged 14-26, who had undergone the treatment, and three of their parents. Inductive thematic analysis was used to evaluate the content of the interviews. RESULTS: Mostly positive experiences were reported of the Lightning Process. Two reported dissatisfaction and no improvement, while seven were satisfied and were much improved. Particular helpful aspects were the theoretical rationale, practical exercises, and the technique they learned. Less helpful aspects were the intensity and short duration of the treatment with little follow-up, the secrecy surrounding it, and feelings of being blamed if the treatment did not work. CONCLUSIONS: As this is the first report of young people's experiences with the Lightning Process, it will be important to consider the helpful and unhelpful treatment components for future refinement of interventions for CFS/ME. STATEMENT OF CONTRIBUTION: What is already known on this subject? Treatment alternatives for people with CFS/ME are few, especially for young people. The Lightning Process is a popular treatment programme that has recently become available, but no studies involving the treatment have yet been published. Feelings of blame or dismissal in CFS/ME patients lead to withdrawal or disengagement from professionals. What does this study add? The Lightning Process for young people with CFS/ME encompasses many positive aspects, particularly the practical aspects of the treatment programme. The more extreme position taken by the Lightning Process in denying the limitations of the illness seem to produce divergent results in various young people; some found it liberating and therapeutic, whilst others did not respond well to it and were left feeling guilty and blamed.
    British Journal of Health Psychology 09/2012; DOI:10.1111/j.2044-8287.2012.02093.x · 2.70 Impact Factor