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The Mystery of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Uncovered

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is characterized by inexplainable, chronic and severe tiredness that doesn't go away with rest and is not directly related to other medical conditions. For patients afflicted with the problem, the fact that doctors haven't been able to figure out exactly what causes the chronic fatigue has been a source of frustration. However, a new study may have begun to uncover some clues.

Researchers performed MRI scans of the brains of 18 patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and 41 healthy patients and discovered that those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome experienced less activity in the brain when presented with rewards that would typically stimulate a response in a healthy brain. By having the participants play a basic card game and win, the doctors witnessed that participants with the most severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome had less change in blood flow to the basal ganglia, a region at the base of the brain associated with motor activity and motivation.

While the doctors don't know if the a cause of CFS or a result of the CFS, the findings help to shed some light on the complex nature of the disease. An estimated 1 million Americans are afflicted by CFS and it is more common in women. Patients with CFS experience chronic fatigue symptoms that last 6 months or more, memory and concentration problems, and joint and muscle pain.