Attention and short–term memory in chronic fatigue syndrome patients: An event–related potential analysis

M. K. Scheffers, Ray Johnson*, J. Grafman, J. K. Dale, S. E. Straus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


We recorded event-related brain potentials (ERPs) from 13 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and 13 matched normal controls. To assess attentional and memory deficits in CFS patients, we used a short-term memory task in which events occurred in different spatial locations and the patients made a rapid response (RT) when a letter in a relevant location matched a letter in the prememorized set (Attention paradigm). Time-on-task effects on the ERP and behavioral measures were assessed over the 2 1/2-hour duration of this task. Both groups also performed a visual Oddball paradigm, with an RT, before and after the Attention paradigm. The patients' RTs were much more variable and, in nine of 13 cases, slower than the mean RT of the controls in both paradigms. The patients' memory performance was not significantly different from that of the controls and there were no group differences in the overall amplitude, latency, or scalp distribution of the N1, P2, N2, or P300 components of the ERP in either paradigm. The ERP and performance data from both paradigms suggest that perceptual, attentional, and short-term memory processes were unaffected in CFS patients and that the differences were limited to response-related processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1667-1675
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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