Research presented at a conference called Experimental Biology 2012 suggests that chronic fatigue syndrome may involve reduced activity in an area of the brain called the basal ganglia. What's more, the worse the person's fatigue, the lower the activity in that region, researchers say.
The basal ganglia are located at the base of your forebrain. They're involved in multiple functions, including feelings of reward, motivation, cognitive and emotional functions, decision making, and involuntary motor control. All of these areas can be compromised in people with chronic fatigue syndrome. This study focused on changes in activity during feelings of reward.
Diseases that affect the basal ganglia are often associated with fatigue, as are drugs that lower activity there. Researchers decided to look at basal ganglia function after observing that the drug interferon alpha can cause extreme fatigue that's very similar to the unique fatigue of chronic fatigue syndrome.
The major neurotransmitter to operate in the basal ganglia is dopamine, which research suggests can be dysregulated in people with this illness. The researchers speculate that the reduced activity may also be related to inflammation. They say both of these issues could be important areas for future research.
- Neurotransmitter Dysregulation in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Dopamine & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome