Brain Changes Account for Memory Problems in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • A new study published in the British Journal of Radiology found that changes in the brain may be responsible for the memory impairment experienced by chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) patients.

    Study Design and Results

    Researchers compared 26 ME/CFS patients and 26 healthy volunteers using voxel-based morphometry, a neuroimaging analysis technique that allows scientists to investigate differences in brain anatomy. 

    They found the ME/CFS group had reduced grey matter in three areas of the brain:

    • Right and left occipital lobes
    • Right angular gyrus
    • Posterior division of the parahippocampal gyrus

    In addition, a reduced volume of white matter was identified in the left occipital lobe of the ME/CFS group.

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    The study authors concluded, “These data support the hypothesis that significant neuroanatomical changes occur in CFS, and are consistent with the complaint of impaired memory that is common in this illness; they also suggest that subtle abnormalities in visual processing, and discrepancies between intended actions and consequent movements, may occur in CFS.”

    My Thoughts...

    Those of us who live with ME/CFS are only too aware of the memory impairment and other cognitive functioning problems that accompany this condition.  However, since some medical professionals and government officials continue to try to attribute ME/CFS symptoms to psychological issues, I'm always pleased to see additional proof of the very real physiological abnormalities present.

    Source:  Puri BK, et al. “Regional grey and white matter volumetric changes in myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome): a voxel-based morphometry 3-T MRI study.” Br J Radiol. 2011 Nov 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Published On: December 14, 2011