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Regional grey and white matter volumetric changes in myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome): a voxel-based morphometry 3 T MRI study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • B K Puri
  • P M Jakeman
  • M Agour
  • K D R Gunatilake
  • K A C Fernando
  • A I Gurusinghe
  • I H Treasaden
  • A D Waldman
  • P Gishen

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e270-3
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


OBJECTIVE: It is not established whether myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is associated with structural brain changes. The aim of this study was to investigate this by conducting the largest voxel-based morphometry study to date in CFS.

METHODS: High-resolution structural 3 T cerebral MRI scanning was carried out in 26 patients with CFS and 26 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Voxel-wise generalised linear modelling was applied to the processed MR data using permutation-based non-parametric testing, forming clusters at t>2.3 and testing clusters for significance at p<0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons across space.

RESULTS: Significant voxels (p<0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons) depicting reduced grey matter volume in the CFS group were noted in the occipital lobes (right and left occipital poles; left lateral occipital cortex, superior division; and left supracalcrine cortex), the right angular gyrus and the posterior division of the left parahippocampal gyrus. Significant voxels (p<0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons) depicting reduced white matter volume in the CFS group were also noted in the left occipital lobe.

CONCLUSION: These data support the hypothesis that significant neuroanatomical changes occur in CFS, and are consistent with the complaint of impaired memory that is common in this illness; they also suggest that subtle abnormalities in visual processing, and discrepancies between intended actions and consequent movements, may occur in CFS.

    Research areas

  • Adult, Brain, Brain Mapping, Case-Control Studies, Cerebral Cortex, Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic, Female, Humans, Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Myelin Sheath, Organ Size, Reference Values, Sensitivity and Specificity, Comparative Study, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

ID: 46127661