TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts | 15 January 2016

January 15, 2016

From the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (published by the US Department of Veteran Affairs), last reviewed or updated 2 December 2015 (Full text available).

Reduced gait automaticity in female patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: Case-control study

Jan b Eyskens, MSc PT, DO, Pr Ph(1.*), Jo Nijs, PhD(2), Kristien Wouters(3,4) Greta Moorkens, MD, PhD(1,4).
1) Department of Internal Medicine, Antwerp University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium;
2) Pain in Motion Research Group, Departments of Human Physiology and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium, and Department of Physical Medicine and Physiotherapy, University Hospital Brussels, Brussels, Belgium;
3) Department of Scientific Coordination and Biostatistics, Antwerp University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium;
4) Faculty of Medicine and Health ??Science, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium


Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) report difficulties walking for a prolonged period of time. This study compares gait automaticity between women with CFS and non-disabled controls.

The “stops walking with eyes closed with secondary cognitive task” test is based on the classic “stops walking while talking” test but compares walking with eyes closed while performing a secondary cognitive task in a female CFS population (n = 34) and in female nondisabled controls (n = 38).

When initiating gate, 23.5% of patients with CFS looked toward the ground compared with only 2.6% of nondisabled controls. After 7 m, subjects were asked to close their eyes, and after another 7 m, they were asked, “How much is 100 minus 7?”

Of the patients with CFS, 55.9% stopped walking compared with 5.3% of nondisabled controls. Less automated walking was observed in patients with CFS than in nondisabled controls (p < 0.001). The test-retest reliability is moderate for global stopping.This simple test observed reduced gait automaticity in patients with CFS for the first time. Dual tasking could be helpful to address the functional limitations found in this particular study.

From Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, 2015; 1 (4): E184 (Full text available).

Chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic EBV infection: a long-term challenge in a single clinical case

V. Fiore(1), P. Bagella(1), F. Peruzzu(1), G. Caruana(1), S. Zaru(2), M.S. Mura(1)
1) Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
2) Unit of Gastroenterology, Santissima Annunziata Hospital, Sassari, Italy



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a complex illness with different clinical definition, etiological models and treatments. A lot of studies have focused on the concomitance with herpesviridae in- fections, especially Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). We report a clinical case highlighting the correlation between chronic EBV infection and CFS.


The patient met the CDC criteria for the diagnosis of CFS and presented a high level of EBV-DNA in blood.


Although some studies suggest that subjects with viral infections are not more likely to develop CFS than controls, the possible connection between EBV and CFS remains unclear. EBV-DNA shows the presence of an actively replicating virus, which is known to be associated with several cancers. Whether its replication is the cause or the consequence of CSF needs further investigations.

From Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, published online 7 January 2015.

Telemetry-derived heart rate variability responses to a physical stressor

Alexandra Montaño(1), Freddy Brown(2), Daniel P. Credeur(3), Michelle A. Williams(1) and Lee Stoner(2,*)
1) Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
2) School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
3) School of Human Performance and Recreation, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA
* Correspondence
Lee Stoner, Massey University, College of Health, School of Sport and Exercise, Private Bag 756, Wellington 6140, New Zealand E-mail:



Analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) responses to an orthostatic challenge can be used to investigate autonomic control of heart rate, an index of cardiovascular function. HRV is typically assessed using the electrocardiogram (ECG), which can be impractical for use with large population-based studies.


To assess the validity and reliability of telemetry-derived HRV responses to an orthostatic challenge.


Twenty healthy adults (26 + 5 years, 45% male) were tested on three separate mornings. Following 20-min supine rest, R-R intervals were recorded using a telemetric device during three conditions: BASE, TILT and RECOVERY. ECG was simultaneously used on 1 day for validity comparison. Measures of HRV included the following: standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN), the root-mean-square of successive differences (RMSSD) and the low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) spectral power.


For all parameters, there was excellent agreement between devices for BASE (r = 0·96–0·99), TILT (r = 0·89–1·00) and RECOVERY (r = 0·96–1·00). For the telemetric device, between-day intraclass coefficient values for RMSDD, SDNN and HF were all above the 0·75 criterion for each condition, indicating excellent between-day reliability. For each condition, the reliability coefficient, expressed as a percentage of the mean (RC%), was marginally lower (greater reliability) for RMSDD (RC% 11–13) and SDNN (RC% 10–12) compared to HF (RC% 12–17). However, SDNN did not significantly respond to the orthostatic challenge.


Telemetric HRV, particularly RMSDD and HF, can be used to provide a sensitive, valid and reliable assessment of autonomic control of heart rate.

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