People suffering from Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) often have memory and cognitive complaints. (Glass, 2006)

In FM as in CFS, some abnormalities of cerebral blood flow have been reported. In contrast, one study found normal cerebral glucose metabolism. Functional imaging during painful stimulation shows augmented activation in FM patients in pain-processing areas of the brain. This finding may be informative for cognitive function, because painful stimulation activates some areas of the brain that are also involved in attention-demanding cognitive tasks...Preliminary evidence suggests patients activate more cortical areas during a working memory task, much like the pattern reported for CFS patients.

Glass also states

Taken together, the neuroimaging studies suggest some abnormality in cerebral function among FM and CFS patients. A common finding is increased neural activation during cognitive processing as compared to healthy controls. These findings are in keeping with patients’ reports of increased difficulty and effort in completing cognitive tasks. Further research with fMRI is warranted, as it may help us understand the mechanisms underlying cognitive dysfunction in FM and CFS.

FM patients appear to be quite sensitive to disruptive effects of distraction, but most neuropsychological testing takes place in a distraction-free environment quite different from the hectic world. I am trying to find out, but does anyone know if any further fMRI testing has been done, particularly with distractions involved whilst experiencing difficulty trying to complete cognitive tasks? If so, does it appear that there any specific neurocognitive systems involved in FM?


Glass J. M. (2006). Cognitive dysfunction in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome: new trends and future directions. Current rheumatology reports, 8(6), 425–429. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11926-006-0036-0 PMID: 17092441


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