TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts | 14 October 2016

October 14, 2016

From Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behaviour, 12 October 2016

Mortality in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome

Stephanie L McManimen, Andrew R Devendorf, Abigail A Brown, Billie C Moore, James H Moore and Leonard A Jason
Center for Community Research, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



There is a dearth of research examining mortality in individuals with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Some studies suggest there is an elevated risk of suicide and earlier mortality compared to national norms. However, findings are inconsistent.


This study sought to determine if patients are reportedly dying earlier than the overall population from the same cause.


Family, friends, and caregivers of deceased patients were recruited. This study analyzed data including cause and age of death for 56 individuals.


The findings suggest patients in this sample are at a significantly increased risk of earlier all-cause (M = 55.9 years) and cardiovascular-related (M = 58.8 years) mortality, and they had a directionally lower age of death for suicide (M = 41.3 years) and cancer (M = 66.3 years) compared to the overall U.S. population [M = 73.5 (all-cause), 77.7 (cardiovascular), 47.4 (suicide), and 71.1 (cancer) years of age].


Results suggest there is an increase in risk for earlier mortality in patients. Due to sample size and over-representation of severely ill patients, the findings should be replicated to determine if the directional differences for suicide and cancer mortality are significantly different from the overall population.

From BMJ Open, 11 October 2016.

Treatment for paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and comorbid depression: a systematic review

Maria E Loades(1), Elizabeth A Sheils(1), Esther Crawley(2)
1) Department of Psychology, University of Bath, Bath, UK
2) School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
Correspondence: Dr Maria E Loades;



At least 30% of young people with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) also have symptoms of depression. This systematic review aimed to establish which treatment approaches for depression are effective and whether comorbid depression mediates outcome.


A systematic review was undertaken. The search terms were entered into MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycInfo and the Cochrane library.
Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to identify relevant papers. Inclusion criteria were children age <18, with CFS/ME, defined using CDC, NICE or Oxford criteria, and having completed a valid assessment for depression.   RESULTS   9 studies were identified which met the inclusion criteria, but none specifically tested treatments for paediatric CFS/ME with depression and none stratified outcome for those who were depressed compared with those who were not depressed. There is no consistent treatment approach for children with CFS/ME and comorbid depression, although cognitive–behavioural therapy for CFS/ME and a multicomponent inpatient programme for CFS/ME have shown some promise in reducing depressive symptoms. An antiviral medication in a small scale, retrospective, uncontrolled study suggested possible benefit.   CONCLUSIONS   It is not possible to determine what treatment approaches are effective for depression in paediatric CFS/ME, nor to determine the impact of depression on the outcome of CFS/ME treatment. Young people with significant depression tend to have been excluded from previous treatment studies.

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