Research: a trio of recent reports in the learned journals, accessed 11 August 2011

From Child Pschol Psychiatry, 16 April 2011

What to do about attention and memory problems in children with CFS/ME: a neuropsychological approach.

Tucker P, Haig-Ferguson A, Eaton N, Crawley E.
Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath, UK.

Abstract

Our recent research has shown that children with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyopathy (CFS/ME) describe problems with focused attention, sustained attention, recall and stress. Neuropsychological testing demonstrated lower scores for sustained attention, switching attention, divided attention, auditory learning and immediate recall compared to normative data. This paper describes what is currently known about memory and attention problems in children with CFS/ME and suggests a variety of strategies that could be used to overcome these difficulties.

PMID: 21571764 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Can Fam Physician, February 2010

Functional impairment in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivity.

Lavergne MR, Cole DC, Kerr K, Marshall LM.
Women’s College Hospital, Family and Community Medicine, Toronto, ON M5S 1B2.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To characterize patients diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or fibromyalgia (FM), to compare their level of function with Canadian population average values, and to assess factors associated with function.

DESIGN: Chart review and abstraction of clinical information.

SETTING: The Environmental Health Clinic (EHC) at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Ont, which is a provincial referral centre for patients with illnesses with suspected environmental links, especially MCS, CFS, and FM.

PARTICPANTS: A total of 128 consecutive patients diagnosed with 1 or more of MCS, CFS, or FM, seen between January 2005 and March 2006 at the EHC.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, comorbid diagnoses, duration of illness, health services usage, life stresses, helpful therapeutic strategies, and functional impairment measured by the Short Form-36, compared with Canadian population average values. Factors significantly associated with function in bivariate analyses were included in multiple linear and logistic regression models.

RESULTS: The patient population was predominantly female (86.7%), with a mean age of 44.6 years. Seventy-eight patients had discrete diagnoses of 1 of MCS, CFS, or FM, while the remainder had 2 or 3 overlapping diagnoses. Most (68.8%) had stopped work, and on average this had occurred 3 years after symptom onset. On every Short Form-36 subscale, patients had markedly lower functional scores than population average values, more so when they had 2 or 3 of these diagnoses. Having FM, younger age at onset, and lower socioeconomic status were most consistently associated with poor function.

CONCLUSION: Patients seen at the EHC demonstrated marked functional impairment, consistent with their reported difficulties working and caring for their homes
and families during what should be their peak productive years. Early comprehensive assessment, medical management, and social and financial support might avoid the deterioration of function associated with prolonged illness. Education and information resources are required for health care professionals and the public, along with further etiologic and prognostic research.

PMCID: PMC2821254


J Psychosom Research, April 2011

Metacognitions and negative emotions as predictors of symptom severity in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Maher-Edwards L, Fernie BA, Murphy G, Wells A, Spada MM.
Fatigue Service, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) describes a condition that is primarily characterized by fatigue and flu-like symptoms that are not alleviated by rest. This study investigated the relationship among metacognitions, negative emotions, and symptom severity in CFS.

METHODS: A total of 96 patients who had received a diagnosis of CFS according to the Oxford Criteria completed a battery of self-report measures that consisted of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales, the 30-Item Metacognitions Questionnaire, the Chalder Fatigue Questionnaire (CFQ), and the RAND 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey-Physical Functioning.

RESULTS: Correlation analyses showed that negative emotions and metacognitions were positively correlated with measures of symptom severity and that metacognitions were a better predictor of symptom severity than anxiety and depression. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that (1) lack of cognitive confidence predicted both mental and physical factors of the CFQ and physical functioning independently of negative emotions and (2) beliefs about the need to control thoughts predicted the mental factor of the CFQ independently of negative emotions and lack of cognitive confidence.

CONCLUSION: The data support the potential application of the metacognitive model of psychological disorder to understanding CFS.

PMID: 21414450 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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