Quantitative Electroencephalographic Comodulation: An Investigation of Patterns in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


  • Tamara D. Lorensen
  • Kathryn M. Gow




Introduction. This is a pilot study of quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG) comodulation analysis, which is used to assist in identifying regional brain differences in those people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) compared to a normative database. The QEEG comodulation analysis examines spatial-temporal crosscorrelation of spectral estimates in the resting dominant frequency band. A pattern shown by Sterman and Kaiser (2001) and referred to as the anterior posterior dissociation (APD) discloses a significant reduction in shared functional modulation between frontal and centro-parietal areas of the cortex. This research attempts to examine whether this pattern is evident in CFS. Method. Eleven adult participants, diagnosed by a physician as having CFS, were involved in QEEG data collection. Nineteen-channel cap recordings were made in five conditions: eyes-closed baseline, eyes-open, reading task one, math computations task two, and a second eyes-closed baseline. Results. Four of the 11 participants showed an anterior posterior dissociation pattern for the eyes-closed resting dominant frequency. However, seven of the 11 participants did not show this pattern. Examination of the mean 8-12 Hz amplitudes across three cortical regions (frontal, central and parietal) indicated a trend of higher overall alpha levels in the parietal region in CFS patients who showed the APD pattern compared to those who did not have this pattern. All patients showing the pattern were free of medication, while 71% of those absent of the pattern were using antidepressant medications. Conclusions. Although the sample is small, it is suggested that this method of evaluating the disorder holds promise. The fact that this pattern was not consistently represented in the CFS sample could be explained by the possibility of subtypes of CFS, or perhaps co-morbid conditions. Further, the use of antidepressant medications may mask the pattern by altering the temporal characteristics of the EEG. The results of this pilot study indicate that further research is warranted to verify that the pattern holds across the wider population of CFS sufferers.