© Radiological Society of North America
This reconstructed MR image shows the right arcuate (blue tracks and arrows) and ILFs (yellow tracks and arrows) in a single representative subject. These two tracks are overlaid on their respective track profiles. The track profile is colored according to the T score of track-based FA, showing that the maximal increase in FA is in the anterior arcuate and ILFs. The red, blue, and green spheres correspond to size and locations of increased cortical thickness from Figure 1 in the right occipital, precentral, and middle temporal regions, respectively. The green arrows also point to the middle temporal region of increased thickness.
An imaging study by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators has found distinct differences between the brains of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and those of healthy people.
The findings could lead to more definitive diagnoses of the syndrome and may also point to an underlying mechanism in the disease process.
It's not uncommon for CFS patients to face several mischaracterizations of their condition, or even suspicions of hypochondria, before receiving a diagnosis of CFS. The abnormalities identified in the study, to be published Oct. 29 in Radiology
, may help to resolve those ambiguities, said lead author Michael Zeineh, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology.
"Using a trio of sophisticated imaging methodologies, we found that CFS patients' brains diverge from those of healthy subjects in at least three distinct ways," Zeineh said.
CFS affects between 1 million and 4 million individuals in the United States and millions more worldwide. Coming up with a more precise number of cases is tough because it's difficult to actually diagnose the disease. While all CFS patients share a common symptom - crushing, unremitting fatigue that persists for six months or longer - the additional symptoms can vary from one patient to the next, and they often overlap with those of other conditions.