An Investigation into the Cognitive Deficits Associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Marie Thomas*, 1, 2, Andrew Smith1
1 Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, UK
2 Centre for Health Information Research Evaluation, School of Medicine, Swansea University, UK

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© Thomas and Smith; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Centre for Health Information Research Evaluation, School of Medicine, Swansea University, UK; E-mail:


This study addresses, among other things, the debate as to whether cognitive deficits do occur with a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Previous studies have indicated a potential mismatch between subjective patient ratings of impairment and clinical assessment. In an attempt to tackle some of the methodological problems faced by previous research in this field, this study recruited a large sample of CFS patients where adequate diagnosis had been made and administered an extensive battery of measures. In doing so this study was able to replicate previous published evidence of clear cognitive impairment in this group and demonstrate also that these deficits occurred independent of psychopathology. The conclusion drawn is that cognitive impairments can be identified if appropriate measures are used. Furthermore, the authors have shown that performance changes in these measures have been used to assess both efficacy of a treatment regime and rates of recovery.

Keywords: Chronic fatigue syndrome, cognitive deficits, healthy controls.