Full Title: Psychomotor function and response inhibition in chronic fatigue syndrome.
Authors: Den Eede FV, Moorkens G, Hulstijn W, Maas Y, Schrijvers D, Stevens SR, Cosyns P, Claes SJ, Sabbe BG.
Publication: Psychiatry Research
Publication Date: 24th August 2010
Department of Psychiatry, Antwerp University Hospital (UZA), Antwerp, Belgium; Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute (CAPRI), Faculty of Medicine, University of Antwerp (UA), Antwerp, Belgium.
Most research points to cognitive slowing in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), although there have been negative reports. The present study is one of few that examines fine motor processing and the inhibition of automatic responses in a well-characterised CFS population. A total of 35 female CFS patients without current major depression and 25 female controls performed two computerised figure-copying tasks. The cognitive and fine motor processing of visual-spatial information was measured by recording reaction time (RT) and movement time (MT), respectively. The inhibition of automatic responses was assessed by introducing 'conflicting patterns' (i.e., patterns that were difficult to draw from the preferred left to right). A multivariate general linear model was adopted for the statistical analysis of the movement recordings. As a result, CFS was significantly associated with longer RT and MT in the pooled and in the task-specific analyses. However, there was no interaction between disease status and conflicting character of the patterns. In conclusion, these performance data on the figure-copying tasks provide confirmatory evidence for psychomotor slowing in CFS, but not for a disturbed inhibition of automatic responses. Computerised figure-copying tasks may be promising tools for use in neurobiological research and clinical trials in CFS.