Study Finds New Evidence of Brain Involvement in CFS

Journal Highlights, Research News | 12. May, 2011 by | 14 Comments


By K. Kimberly McCleary, President & CEO

Researchers in Australia explored brain involvement in CFS. They used statistical parametric mapping of brain magnetic resonance (MR) images and compared against clinical scores for 25 CFS subjects and 25 normal controls. Clinical scores included CFS fatigue duration, a score based on the 10 most common CFS symptoms, the Bell score, the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) anxiety and depression, and hemodynamic parameters from 24-h blood pressure monitoring. Midbrain white matter volume was observed to decrease with increasing fatigue duration. A strong correlation in CFS between brainstem GM volume and pulse pressure suggested impaired cerebrovascular autoregulation. It can be argued that at least some of these changes could arise from astrocyte dysfunction.

These results are consistent with an insult to the midbrain at fatigue onset that affects multiple feedback control loops to suppress cerebral motor and cognitive activity and disrupt local CNS homeostasis, including resetting of some elements of the autonomic nervous system. (NMR in BioMedicine, May 11, 2011)

This study was partially funded by the Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation.

A brain MRI study of chronic fatigue syndrome: evidence of brainstem dysfunction and altered homeostasis. Leighton R. Barnden, Benjamin Crouch, Richard Kwiatek, Richard Burnet, Anacleto Mernone, Steve Chryssidis, Garry Scroop, Peter Del Fante. NMR in Biomedicine. Article first published online: 11 MAY 2011 DOI: 10.1002/nbm.1692
K. Kimberly McCleary has served as the Association’s chief staff executive since 1991.
May 12, 2011