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J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2002 Dec;24(8):994-1009.

Controlled processes and automaticity in memory functioning in fibromyalgia patients: relation with emotional distress and hypervigilance.

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Service de Medecine Physique et Réadaptation, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


Evidence exists that chronic pain partially consumes the limited attentional resources, with the consequence that controlled processes sustaining cognitive tasks are affected and that automatic processes are preserved. Fibromyalgia syndrome is consistently rated as more severe than other chronic painful conditions. It is assumed here that fibromyalgia is more attention-demanding, leading to a more pronounced decrease of the controlled processes in comparison with other chronic painful conditions. In this perspective, Study 1 compares fibromyalgia patients, patients with localized pain and healthy subjects in a procedure separately estimating the within-task contributions of controlled and automatic processes in a cued recall task. As predicted, controlled processes are more strongly affected in fibromyalgia patients related to the group with localized pain. Unexpectedly, contribution of automatic processes is increased in fibromyalgia. Study 2 replicates these results and reveals that memory functioning in fibromyalgia patients is related to their painful condition as a whole rather than to any particular patient's characteristics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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