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


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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    • "The etiology of CFS is probably multi-factorial (Harvey and Wessely, 2009). It is useful to distinguish among predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors (Prins et al., 2006). Some researchers have suggested that personality plays a predisposing and/or perpetuating role in CFS (Henderson and Tannock, 2004). "
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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.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014
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    • "Symptoms can include headaches, unrefreshing sleep, pain, sore throat, concentration or memory problems and post exertional malaise [1]. The diagnosis is made after all relevant differential diagnoses have been excluded; the prevalence of CFS/ME among adults in both the US and the UK is estimated at around 0.2-0.4% [2]. The condition is distressing and costly in terms of both health service utilization and economic burden to patients and their families [3,4]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The NICE guideline for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) emphasises the need for an early diagnosis in primary care with management tailored to patient needs. However, GPs can be reluctant to make a diagnosis and are unsure how to manage people with the condition. A meta synthesis of published qualitative studies was conducted, producing a multi-perspective description of barriers to the diagnosis and management of CFS/ME, and the ways that some health professionals have been able to overcome them. Analysis provided second-order interpretation of the original findings and developed third-order constructs to provide recommendations for the medical curriculum. Twenty one qualitative studies were identified. The literature shows that for over 20 years health professionals have reported a limited understanding of CFS/ME. Working within the framework of the biomedical model has also led some GPs to be sceptical about the existence of the condition. GPs who provide a diagnosis tend to have a broader, multifactorial, model of the condition and more positive attitudes towards CFS/ME. These GPs collaborate with patients to reach agreement on symptom management, and use their therapeutic skills to promote self care. In order to address barriers to the diagnosis and management of CFS/ME in primary care, the limitations of the biomedical model needs to be recognised. A more flexible bio-psychosocial approach is recommended where medical school training aims to equip practitioners with the skills needed to understand, support and manage patients and provide a pathway to refer for specialist input.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · BMC Family Practice
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    • "These therapies modify illness perception and allow patients to make adjustment to optimise energy expenditure. CBT has been shown to increase cortisol levels by reversing some of the effects induced by low activity levels, depression and stress in early life [8, 82, 90, 91]. In addition, many pharmacologic treatments have been investigated for CFS including psychostimulants, corticosteroids, anti-inflammatories, and antidepressants [92–94]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction has been found in a high proportion of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients and includes enhanced corticosteroid-induced negative feedback, basal hypocortisolism, attenuated diurnal variation, and a reduced responsivity to challenge. A putative causal role for genetic profile, childhood trauma, and oxidative stress has been considered. In addition, the impact of gender is demonstrated by the increased frequency of HPA axis dysregulation in females. Despite the temporal relationship, it is not yet established whether the endocrine dysregulation is causal, consequent, or an epiphenomenon of the disorder. Nonetheless, given the interindividual variation in the effectiveness of existing biological and psychological treatments, the need for novel treatment strategies such as those which target the HPA axis is clear.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013
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