(HealthDay News) – Reduced basal ganglia activation may play a role in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Elizabeth R. Unger, MD, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used a monetary win-lose gambling task which strongly activates basal ganglia to investigate basal ganglia function in 18 individuals with CFS and 41 non-fatigued, age-, sex-, and race-matched controls. Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging, and activation in basal ganglia regions of interest was measured.

The researchers found that, compared with controls, individuals with CFS exhibited reduced right caudate and right globus pallidus activation (P=0.01 and 0.02, respectively). Reduced activation of the globus pallidus correlated with significantly increased mental fatigue, general fatigue, and decreased activity Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory scores of individuals with CFS (P=0.001, 0.01, and 0.02, respectively).

“Many patients with chronic fatigue syndrome encounter a lot of skepticism about their illness,” Unger said in a statement. “They have difficulty getting their friends, colleagues, coworkers, and even some physicians to understand their illness. These results provide another clue into the biology of chronic fatigue syndrome.”

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