To examine the degree and nature of cognitive impairments in chronic fatigue syndrome, a comprehensive neuropsychological battery was given to patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, depressed patients, and healthy controls. The battery included tests of attention and concentration, information processing speed, verbal and visual memory, intellectual ability, and concept formation. Measures of depression and anxiety were also obtained. The chronic fatigue syndrome group did not differ from the depressed group in overall neuropsychological performance, but differed from the multiple sclerosis and control groups. The most significant impairment was in information processing speed in the chronic fatigue syndrome group. Depression and anxiety were not related to neuropsychological performance. The influence of reduced information processing on other areas of cognition is discussed.
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