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The brainstem includes the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata, and is structurally contiguous with the spinal cord. It connects the brain to the motor and sensory functions of the peripheral nervous system and plays an important role in the autonomic nervous system, including regulation of heart rate, respiratory function, consciousness, sleep/wake cycle, and digestion.

In human disease[edit | edit source]

ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

A 1995 study found hypoperfusion (reduced blood flow) to the brainstem in patients with ME/CFS.[1] In 2011, a study of brain involvement in CFS found "a strong correlation" brainstem gray matter volume and pulse pressure, "suggesting impaired cerebrovascular autoregulation."[2]

A 2014 Japanese PET study looked at neuroinflammation in 9 patients with ME/CFS and 10 controls. They measured a protein expressed by activated microglia, and found that values in the cingulate cortexhippocampusamygdalathalamus and parts of the brainstem, namely the midbrain, and pons, were 45%–199% higher in ME/CFS patients than in healthy controls. The values in the amygdala, thalamus, and midbrain positively correlated with cognitive impairment score, the values in the cingulate cortex and thalamus positively correlated with pain score, and the value in the hippocampus positively correlated with depression score.[3][4]

Notable studies[edit | edit source]

  • 2019, Intra brainstem connectivity is impaired in chronic fatigue syndrome[5](Full text)

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Costa, D. C.; Tannock, C.; Brostoff, J. (Nov 1995). "Brainstem perfusion is impaired in chronic fatigue syndrome". QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians. 88 (11): 767–773. ISSN 1460-2725. PMID 8542261. 
  2. Barnden, Leighton R.; Crouch, Benjamin; Kwiatek, Richard; Burnet, Richard; Mernone, Anacleto; Chryssidis, Steve; Scroop, Garry; Fante, Peter Del (2011). "A brain MRI study of chronic fatigue syndrome: evidence of brainstem dysfunction and altered homeostasis". NMR in Biomedicine. 24 (10): 1302–1312. doi:10.1002/nbm.1692. ISSN 1099-1492. PMC 4369126Freely accessible. PMID 21560176. 
  3. Nakatomi, Yasuhito; Mizuno, Kei; Ishii, Akira; et al. (Mar 24, 2014), "Neuroinflammation in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: An ¹¹C-(R)-PK11195 PET Study", Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 2014 Jun;55(6): 945-50, doi:10.2967/jnumed.113.131045, PMID 24665088 
  4. Tuller, David (Nov 24, 2014), "Brains of People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Offer Clues About Disorder", NY Times 
  5. Barnden, Leighton R; Shan, Zack Y; Staines, Donald R; Marshall-Gradisnik, Sonya; Finegan, Kevin; Ireland, Timothy; Bhuta, Sandeep (Oct 19, 2019). "Intra brainstem connectivity is impaired in chronic fatigue syndrome". NeuroImage: Clinical. 24: 102045. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2019.102045. ISSN 2213-1582. 

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - A controversial term, invented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, that generally refers to a collection of symptoms as “fatigue”. There have been multiple attempts to come up with a set of diagnostic criteria to define this term, but few of those diagnostic criteria are currently in use. Previous attempts to define this term include the Fukuda criteria and the Oxford criteria. Some view the term as a useful diagnostic category for people with long-term fatigue of unexplained origin. Others view the term as a derogatory term borne out of animus towards patients. Some view the term as a synonym of myalgic encephalomyelitis, while others view myalgic encephalomyelitis as a distinct disease.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.