Fibromyalgia Sleep Study Suggests FM and ME/CFS - They're Different


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
This study found that almost 50% of people with insomnia meet the criteria for either ME/CFS and/or FM.! (They did not say what definition they used in the abstract, though. The fact that many of the people with ME/CFS had sleep disorder breathing while few FM patients did suggested the two diseases were different. Rates of insomnia were high in both.

(Natelson is working on a big study to determine if ME/CFS patients without depression have a evidence of a neurological/brain-based disorder while patients with depression do not. He may split up the disease right there! Its a fascinating study...)

BMC Neurol. 2015 Apr 12;15(1):53. [Epub ahead of print] Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia in diagnosed sleep disorders: a further test of the 'unitary' hypothesis. Pejovic S1, Natelson BH2, Basta M3, Fernandez-Mendoza J4, Mahr F5, Vgontzas AN6.
Since chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) often co-exist, some believe they reflect the same process, somatization. Against that hypothesis are data suggesting FM but not CFS was common in patients with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). The presence of discrete case definitions for CFS and FM allowed us to explore rates of CFS alone, CFS with FM, and FM alone in SDB patients compared to those with sleep complaints that fulfilled criteria for insomnia.

Participants were 175 sequential patients with sleep-related symptoms (122 had SDB and 21 had insomnia) and 39 healthy controls. Diagnoses were made by questionnaires, tender point count, and rule out labs; sleepiness was assessed with Epworth Sleepiness Scale and mood with Beck Depression Inventory.

Rates of CFS, FM or CFS + FM were high: 13% in SDB and 48% in insomnia. CFS occurred frequently in SDB and insomnia, but FM occurred frequently only in insomnia. SDB patients with CFS and/or FM had higher daytime sleepiness than those without these disorders.

CFS patients should complete Epworth scales, and sleep evaluation should be considered for those with scores ≥ 16 before receiving the diagnosis of CFS; the coexistence of depressed mood in these patients suggests some may be helped by treatment of their depression. That FM was underrepresented in SDB suggests FM and CFS may have different underlying pathophysiological causes.

Who Me?

Well-Known Member
I'm confused but I can't read the study. So they are saying if you are depressed you don't have the same neuro issues as not depressed?

Wasn't the differentiation between CFS and ME that ME has neuro cog and CFS doesn't?

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