The pathophysiology of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) remains unclear; no biomarkers have thus far been identified or physical tests designed to underpin its diagnosis. Assessment mainly uses Fukuda's criteria and is based on the exclusion of symptoms related to other diseases/syndromes, subjective self-reporting, and outcomes of self-report questionnaires. In order to improve the baseline assessment and progress evaluation of individuals suspected of CFS and using an association-oriented research strategy and a cross-correlational design, this study investigates possible associations between the performance on two physical tests, i.e. ‘Timed Loaded Standing’ (TLS), assessing trunk-arm endurance, and the ‘Stops Walking with Eyes Closed while performing a secondary Cognitive Task’ (SWECCT), measuring impaired automaticity of gait, and the results of two self-report questionnaires, the Checklist Individual Strength (CIS, total score and fatigue subscale score) and the physical functioning and vitality subscales of the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) to gauge the participants’ subjective feelings of fatigue and beliefs regarding their abilities to perform daily-life activities. Comparisons of the outcomes obtained in 27 female patients with a confirmed diagnosis of CFS revealed that trunk-arm endurance as measured with the TLS correlated with the SF-36 physical functioning subscale only (raw p value: 0.004). None of the other correlations were statistically significant. It is concluded that the TLS may have potential as an objective assessment tool to support the diagnosis and monitoring of treatment effects in CFS.
- Physical assessment
- Physical endurance