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Appl Neuropsychol. 2001;8(1):12-22.

Neuropsychological function in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and depression.

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Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, 149 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple sclerosis (MS), and major depression were compared with controls and with each other on a neuropsychological battery that included standard neuropsychological tests and a computerized set of tasks that spanned the same areas of ability. A total of 101 participants were examined, including 29 participants with CFS, 24 with MS, 23 with major depressive disorder, and 25 healthy controls. There were significant differences among the groups in 3 out of 5 cognitive domains: memory, language, and spatial ability. Assessment of psychiatric symptoms indicated that all 3 patient groups had a higher prevalence of depression than the controls. A total measure of psychiatric symptomatology also differentiated the patients from the controls. After covarying the cognitive test scores by a measure of depression, the patient groups continued to differ from controls primarily in the area of memory. The findings support the view that the cognitive deficits found in CFS cannot be attributed solely to the presence of depressive symptomatology in the patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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