Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Understanding Trauma, Fear, and Stress as they Relate to CFS

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also known as CFS and Myalgic Enchephalomyelitis) is associated with several areas of dysfunction in the body including but not limited to inflammatory cytokines, chronic intracellular infections, autoimmunity, and mitochondrial pathology.  In today’s broadcast we will touch on these topics, but our focus will surround the evidence tying abnormal stressful events in early life to CFS as well as abnormal stress responses in adult life with this condition. Furthermore, we will delve into the research on how cortisol is affected in CFS patients.

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1.Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Hypofunction in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) as a Consequence of Activated Immune-Inflammatory and Oxidative and Nitrosative Pathways.
Morris G, Anderson G, Maes M.
Mol Neurobiol. 2016 Oct 20. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
PMID: 27766535 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
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2.The emerging role of autoimmunity in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/cfs).
Morris G, Berk M, Galecki P, Maes M.
Mol Neurobiol. 2014 Apr;49(2):741-56. doi: 10.1007/s12035-013-8553-0. Review.
PMID: 24068616 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
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3.Dysregulated stress signal sensitivity and inflammatory disinhibition as a pathophysiological mechanism of stress-related chronic fatigue.
Strahler J, Skoluda N, Rohleder N, Nater UM.
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2016 Sep;68:298-318. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.05.008. Review.
PMID: 27208412 [PubMed – in process]
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4.Altered neuroendocrine control and association to clinical symptoms in adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome: a cross-sectional study.
Wyller VB, Vitelli V, Sulheim D, Fagermoen E, Winger A, Godang K, Bollerslev J.
J Transl Med. 2016 May 5;14(1):121. doi: 10.1186/s12967-016-0873-1.
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5.Getting better, but not well: A 1.5 year follow-up of cognitive performance and cortisol levels in clinical and non-Clinical burnout.
Oosterholt BG, Maes JH, Van der Linden D, Verbraak MJ, Kompier MA.
Biol Psychol. 2016 May;117:89-99. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.02.009.
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6.Self-critical perfectionism predicts lower cortisol response to experimental stress in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Kempke S, Luyten P, Mayes LC, Van Houdenhove B, Claes S.
Health Psychol. 2016 Mar;35(3):298-307. doi: 10.1037/hea0000299.
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7.Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and DNA Hypomethylation of the Glucocorticoid Receptor Gene Promoter 1F Region: Associations With HPA Axis Hypofunction and Childhood Trauma.
Vangeel E, Van Den Eede F, Hompes T, Izzi B, Del Favero J, Moorkens G, Lambrechts D, Freson K, Claes S.
Psychosom Med. 2015 Oct;77(8):853-62. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000224.
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8.Stress management skills, cortisol awakening response, and post-exertional malaise in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Hall DL, Lattie EG, Antoni MH, Fletcher MA, Czaja S, Perdomo D, Klimas NG.
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Nov;49:26-31. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.06.021.
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9.The role of hypocortisolism in chronic fatigue syndrome.
Nijhof SL, Rutten JM, Uiterwaal CS, Bleijenberg G, Kimpen JL, Putte EM.
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10.Childhood stressors in the development of fatigue syndromes: a review of the past 20 years of research.
Borsini A, Hepgul N, Mondelli V, Chalder T, Pariante CM.
Psychol Med. 2014 Jul;44(9):1809-23. doi: 10.1017/S0033291713002468. Review.
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One Comment

  1. OMG, I have long believed that my childhood abuse is what ruined my adult health. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia , and now, at 64, it is worsening on a daily basis. I stopped duloxetine partly because I could no longer afford it, but more because it just didn’t help. I know I have other issues because I know my body pretty well by now, but just like you said, my blood tests are “within normal range”. Normal range for what? A zombie? Truly, most days I feel like an escapee from a zombie movie (except they don’t feel pain, of course). So thank you for linking childhood trauma to adult illness.

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