Neuropsychology of chronic fatigue syndrome: a critical review

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1997 Aug;19(4):560-86. doi: 10.1080/01688639708403744.


This article provides a comprehensive and critical review of the neuropsychological and related literature on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Despite the methodological limitations observed in several studies, some consistent findings are noted. The most consistently documented neuropsychological impairments are in the areas of complex information processing speed and efficiency. General intellectual abilities and higher order cognitive skills are intact. Emotional factors influence subjective report of cognitive difficulty, whereas their effect on objective performance remains uncertain. Although the neuropathological processes underlying cognitive dysfunction in CFS are not yet known, preliminary evidence suggests the involvement of cerebral white matter. Directions for future research are outlined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / pathology
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests