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Autonomic Function in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome With and Without Painful Temporomandibular Disorder

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lucy RobinsonORCiD, Professor Justin DurhamORCiD, Dr Laura Maclachlan, Emerita Professor Julia Newton


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Background: Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is heterogeneous in nature, yet noclear subclassifications currently exist. There is evidence of dysautonomia in almost90% of patients and CFS is often co-morbid with conditions associated withautonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction, such as temporomandibulardisorders (TMD). The present study examined the point prevalence of TMD in asample of people with CFS and explored whether co-morbidity between theconditions is associated with greater ANS dysfunction than CFS alone. Method:Fifty-one patients and 10 controls underwent screening for TMD. Theycompleted a self-report measure of ANS function (COMPASS-31) and objectiveassessment of heart rate variability during rest and standing (derived usingspectral analysis). Frequency densities in the high-frequency (HF) and lowfrequency(LF) band were calculated. Results: Patients with CFS were dividedinto those who screened positive for TMD (n = 16, 31%; CFS + TMD) and thosewho did not (n = 35, 69%; CFS − TMD). Both CFS groups had significantlyhigher self-rated ANS dysfunction than controls. CFS + TMD scored higher thanCFS − TMD on the orthostatic and vasomotor subscales. The CFS + TMD grouphad significantly higher HF and significantly lower LF at rest than the other twogroups. In discriminant function analysis, self-report orthostatic intolerance andHF units correctly classified 75% of participants. Conclusions: Almost one-thirdof CFS patients screened positive for TMD and this was associated with greaterevidence of parasympathetic dysfunction. The presence of TMD shows potentialas an effective screen for patients with CFS showing an autonomic profile andcould help identify subgroups to target for treatment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Robinson LJ, Durham J, MacLachlan L, Newton JL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behaviour

Year: 2015

Volume: 3

Issue: 4

Pages: 205-219

Online publication date: 05/10/2015

Acceptance date: 28/08/2015

ISSN (print): 2164-1846

ISSN (electronic): 2164-1862

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/21641846.2015.1091152


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