Clinical Autonomic Research

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 475–477 | Cite as

Autonomic dysfunction in myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome: comparing self-report and objective measures

  • Jane Kemp
  • Madison SunnquistEmail author
  • Leonard A. Jason
  • Julia L. Newton
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editors:

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have debilitating impacts on affected individuals. Core symptoms include post-exertional malaise, neurocognitive challenges, and sleep dysfunction [1]. Additionally, a significant minority of patients experience autonomic symptoms, including orthostatic intolerance, gastrointestinal disturbances, and circulation issues [2].

Several case definitions for ME and CFS require the presence of autonomic dysfunction for diagnosis [2], while other researchers have proposed an “autonomic dysfunction” subtype of ME and CFS [3]. Identifying the appropriate measures of autonomic symptomatology for individuals with ME and CFS will further contribute to understanding the role of the autonomic system in this illness.

Heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of the variation in time between heart beats, has been utilized as an objective measurement of autonomic functioning in ME and CFS research, and some researchers have...



The authors appreciate the funding provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Project HD072208).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This study received approval by the appropriate ethics committees and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards specified in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

Informed consent

All participants provided informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DePaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Newcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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