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Brain scans show impairment in ME/CFS at rest

Brain function and cerebral blood flow are reduced in me/cfs patients, even at rest, according to a recent brain imaging study.

In a study of 19 ME/CFS and 17 healthy controls, researchers used resting state fMRI to evaluate the functional connectivity of patients at rest.

The study identified decreased intrinsic connectivity among regions within the left fronto-parietal networks.

Also, the study confirmed functional connectivity in patients with ME/CFS was significantly correlated with the severity of their chronic fatigue.

Both the findings of impairment at rest and correlation with fatigue severity add to mounting evidence of physical dysfunction in ME/CFS and highlight areas for future research into the disabling disease.

About Resting State fMRI

Resting state fMRI (rsfMRI or R-fMRI) is a method of functional brain imaging that can be used to evaluate regional interactions that occur when a subject is not performing an explicit task. The resting state approach is useful to explore the brain’s functional organization and to examine if it is altered in neurological or psychiatric diseases.

Resting-state functional connectivity research has revealed a number of networks which are consistently found in healthy subjects, different stages of consciousness and across species, and represent specific patterns of synchronous activity.

Tap the toggle below to see the Abstract of the study.

Abnormal Resting-State Functional Connectivity in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Results of Seed and Data-Driven Analyses.

Abstract

Abnormal Resting-State Functional Connectivity in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Results of Seed and Data-Driven Analyses

Authors: Gay C, Robinson ME, Lai S, O’Shea A, Craggs J, Price DD, Staud R.

Although altered resting-state functional connectivity is a characteristic of many chronic pain conditions it has not yet been evaluated in patients with chronic fatigue. Our objective was to investigate the association between fatigue and altered resting-state functional connectivity in myalgic-encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

Thirty-six female subjects, 19 ME/CFS and 17 healthy controls completed a fatigue inventory before undergoing functional magnetic-resonance imaging. Two methods, 1) data driven and 2) model-based, were used to estimate and compare the intra-regional functional connectivity between both groups during the resting state (RS).

The first approach using independent-component analysis was applied to investigate five RS-networks: the default mode network (DMN), salience network (SN), left and right fronto-parietal networks (LFPN, RFPN), and sensory-motor network (SMN).

The second approach used a-priori selected seed regions demonstrating abnormal regional cerebral blood-flow (rCBF) in ME/CFS patients at rest. In ME/CFS patients, Method-1 identified decreased intrinsic connectivity among regions within the LFPN.

Furthermore, the functional connectivity of the left anterior mid-cingulate with the SMN and the connectivity of the left posterior-cingulate cortex with the SN were significantly decreased. For Method-2, five distinct clusters within the right parahippocampus and occipital lobes, demonstrating significant rCBF reductions in ME/CFS patients were used as seeds.

The parahippocampal seed and three occipital-lobe seeds showed altered functional connectivity with other brain regions. The degree of abnormal connectivity correlated with the level of self-reported fatigue. Our results confirm altered RS functional connectivity in patients with ME/CFS which was significantly correlated with the severity of their chronic fatigue.

IMAGE (CROPPED): by Polygon Medical Animation

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Written by Russell Logan

Russell Logan worked as a magazine publisher and editor until forced into early retirement through ill health with ME. He has battled with moderate to severe ME for 25 years. He now lives in Noosaville, Australia.

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  1. We need all the help and public friends/family mine sent interested if no support accept friends/neighbours only and also all the support groups I’m in dunno what I’d do other wise xxx

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