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Front. Physiol., 19 April 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2013.00087

Neurocognitive impairment in childhood chronic fatigue syndrome

  • 1Pathophysiological and Health Science Team, RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies, Kobe City, Hyogo, Japan
  • 2Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan
  • 3Department of Medical Science on Fatigue, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan

Neurocognitive impairment is a feature of childhood chronic fatigue syndrome (CCFS). Several studies have demonstrated reduced attention control in CCFS patients in switching and divided attention tasks. In students, the extent of deterioration in task performance depends on the level of fatigue. Poor performance in switching and divided attention is common in both fatigued students and CCFS patients. Additionally, attentional functions show dramatic development from childhood to adolescence, suggesting that abnormal development of switching and divided attention may be induced by chronic fatigue. The brain structures associated with attentional control are situated in the frontal and parietal cortices, which are the last to mature, suggesting that severe fatigue in CCFS patients and students may inhibit normal structural and functional development in these regions. A combination of treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressant medication is effective to improve attentional control processing in CCFS patients. Studies identifying the features of neurocognitive impairment in CCFS have improved our current understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms of CCFS.

Keywords: childhood chronic fatigue syndrome, cognitive development, divided attention, event-related potential, functional magnetic resonance imaging, kana pick-out test, modified advanced trail making test, switching attention

Citation: Mizuno K and Watanabe Y (2013) Neurocognitive impairment in childhood chronic fatigue syndrome. Front. Physiol. 4:87. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00087

Received: 06 February 2013; Paper pending published: 17 March 2013;
Accepted: 03 April 2013; Published online: 19 April 2013.

Edited by:

Julian M. Stewart, New York Medical College, USA

Reviewed by:

Joseph Francis, Louisiana State University, USA
J. Thomas Cunningham, Univerity of North Texas Health Science Center, USA

Copyright © 2013 Mizuno and Watanabe. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Kei Mizuno, Pathophysiological and Health Science Team, RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies, 6-7-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0047, Japan. e-mail: keimizuno@riken.jp