Stressful experiences and a genetic predisposition toward emotional turmoil contribute to some cases of chronic fatigue syndrome, two new studies indicate.
The investigations, published in the November Archives of General Psychiatry, add to growing evidence that several varieties of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) occur, each with distinct causes.
CFS affects roughly 800,000 people in the United States. It's characterized by disabling fatigue lasting 6 months or more and at least four of eight other symptoms: muscle pain, joint pain, memory or concentration loss, unusual fatigue after exercise, unrefreshing sleep, tender lymph nodes, headaches, and sore throat.
In the first of the new studies, psychologist Christine Heim of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and her coworkers found that adults with CFS report a greater number of traumatic circumstances in their childhoods than other adults do.
From a representative sample of Wichita, Kan.