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Quality of Life Research

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1257–1263 | Cite as

Neurocognitive complaints and functional status among patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia

  • Karen B. SchmalingEmail author
  • Karran L. Betterton
Article

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to conduct a longitudinal examination of cognitive complaints and functional status in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) alone and those who also had fibromyalgia (CFS/FM).

Methods

A total of 93 patients from a tertiary care fatigue clinic were evaluated on four occasions, each 6 months apart. Each evaluation included a tender point assessment, and self-reported functional status and cognitive complaints.

Results

Patients with CFS/FM reported significantly worse physical functioning, more bodily pain, and more cognitive difficulties (visuo-perceptual ability and verbal memory) than patients with CFS alone. Over time, bodily pain decreased only for participants with CFS alone. Verbal memory problems were associated with more bodily pain for both patient groups, whereas visuo-perceptual problems were associated with worse functional status for patients with CFS alone.

Conclusions

This study adds to the literature on functional status, longitudinal course, and cognitive difficulties among patients with CFS and those with CFS and FM. The results suggest that patients with CFS/FM are more disabled, have more cognitive complaints, and improve more slowly over time than patients with CFS alone. Specific cognitive difficulties are related to worse functional status, which supports the addition of cognitive difficulties to the FM case criteria.

Keywords

Functional status Neurocognitive symptoms Fibromyalgia Chronic fatigue syndrome 

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (U19AI38429, Project 4 (Project PI, K. Schmaling).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

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.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWashington State UniversityVancouverUSA

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