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The Impact of a Structured Exercise Programme upon Cognitive Function in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients

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Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Ergonomics, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, M. Sklodowskiej-Curie 9, 85-094 Bydgoszcz, Poland
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Gizińscy Medical Centre, Kościuszki 16, 85-079 Bydgoszcz, Poland
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Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health, The Women Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK
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Department of Human Physiology, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, M. Sklodowskiej-Curie 9, 85-092 Bydgoszcz, Poland
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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, P.O. Box 2040 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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Institute of Microbiology and Virology, Riga Stradiņš University, LV-1067 Riga, Latvia
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Institute of Cellular Medicine, The Medical School, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE2 4HH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10010004
Received: 29 November 2019 / Accepted: 16 December 2019 / Published: 19 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Cognitive Neuroscience)
Background: Cognitive function disturbance is a frequently described symptom of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). In this study, the effects of a structured exercise programme (SEP) upon cognitive function in ME/CFS patients was examined. Methods: Out of the 53 ME/CFS patients initiating SEP 34 (64%) completed the 16 week programme. Cognitive function was assessed using a computerized battery test consisting of a Simple Reaction Time (SRT) (repeated three times) and Choice Reaction Time (CRT) measurements, a Visual Attention Test (VAT) and a Delayed Matching to Sample (DMS) assessment. Results: Statistically significant improvement was noted in the third attempt to SRT in reaction time for correct answers, p = 0.045, r = 0.24. Moreover, significant improvement was noted in VAT reaction time, number of correct answers and errors committed, p = 0.02, omega = 0.03, p = 0.007, r = 0.34 and p = 0.004, r = 0.35, respectively. Non-significant changes were noted in other cognitive tests. Conclusions: A substantial number of participants were unwilling or unable to complete the exercise programme. ME/CFS patients able to complete the SEP showed improved visual attention both in terms of reaction time and correctness of responses and processing speed of simple visual stimuli. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental function; brain fog; cognitive impairment mental function; brain fog; cognitive impairment
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Zalewski, P.; Kujawski, S.; Tudorowska, M.; Morten, K.; Tafil-Klawe, M.; Klawe, J.J.; Strong, J.; Estévez-López, F.; Murovska, M.; Newton, J.L.; the European Network on ME/CFS (EUROMENE). The Impact of a Structured Exercise Programme upon Cognitive Function in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 4.

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