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Intrinsic Functional Hypoconnectivity in Core Neurocognitive Networks Suggests Central Nervous System Pathology in Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: A Pilot Study


Exact low resolution electromagnetic tomography (eLORETA) was recorded from nineteen EEG channels in nine patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and 9 healthy controls to assess current source density and functional connectivity, a physiological measure of similarity between pairs of distributed regions of interest, between groups. Current source density and functional connectivity were measured using eLORETA software. We found significantly decreased eLORETA source analysis oscillations in the occipital, parietal, posterior cingulate, and posterior temporal lobes in Alpha and Alpha-2. For connectivity analysis, we assessed functional connectivity within Menon triple network model of neuropathology. We found support for all three networks of the triple network model, namely the central executive network (CEN), salience network (SN), and the default mode network (DMN) indicating hypo-connectivity in the Delta, Alpha, and Alpha-2 frequency bands in patients with ME compared to controls. In addition to the current source density resting state dysfunction in the occipital, parietal, posterior temporal and posterior cingulate, the disrupted connectivity of the CEN, SN, and DMN appears to be involved in cognitive impairment for patients with ME. This research suggests that disruptions in these regions and networks could be a neurobiological feature of the disorder, representing underlying neural dysfunction.

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    For the sake of clarity, throughout this article we will use ME even though a number of studies use Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) to describe their patient samples.


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Financial Disclosure: This study was supported by Linda Clark.

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Correspondence to Marcie L. Zinn.

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The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest. The funder played no role in the design or conduct of this study.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at DePaul University in Chicago, Protocol # LJ052615 PSY.

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Zinn, M.L., Zinn, M.A. & Jason, L.A. Intrinsic Functional Hypoconnectivity in Core Neurocognitive Networks Suggests Central Nervous System Pathology in Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: A Pilot Study. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 41, 283–300 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-016-9331-3

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  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Lagged phase synchronization
  • Triple network model