Friday 23 December 2016

ADHD symptoms and chronic fatigue syndrome?

With the pinnacle of the season of 'jolly' almost upon us, I'd like to make some brief discussion on the findings reported by Denise Rogers and colleagues [1] and specifically the observation that: "ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms were significantly greater in the CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] group than in HC [healthy controls]."

With the aim of examining both the prevalence of fatigue in cases of ADHD and the prevalence of ADHD symptoms in adults with CFS (a term 'linked to' the condition called myalgic encephalomyelitis), researchers set about investigating several measures including self-reported (that's 'self-reported') fatigue "across groups of adults with ADHD (N = 243), CFS (N = 86), and healthy controls (HC) (N = 211)." The results were interesting insofar as that previous sentence on ADHD symptoms perhaps not being uncommon in cases of CFS vs. asymptomatic controls but also that: "Fatigue is a common clinical feature of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adulthood."

Accepting that there may be important implications from the notion that fatigue may be part and parcel of at least some ADHD (see here for example), the idea that ADHD signs and symptoms might be over-represented in cases of CFS is interesting, if not necessarily novel [2]. Minus any sweeping generalisations or psychobabble explanations of hows-and-whys (we've had quite enough of those in relation to CFS), I'd like to think that such an association could shed some light on the possible shared genetics, epigenetics and biochemistry of both conditions. Given also some initial data emerging on the potential usefulness of something like methylphenidate (indicated for cases of ADHD) for cases of CFS (see here) there are also avenues to explore in relation to shared drug targets across both conditions (see here for some discussion on oxidative stress for example). I'd like to see more study on this topic, bearing in mind how broad labels like CFS and ADHD can be. I'm also wondering whether researchers might also one day replace examination of ADHD traits with autistic traits so as to perhaps provide data on whether there may be other important associations to be had...

And with that I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. I'm not done just yet with this years blogging adventures as my annual 'what was hot in autism research in 2016' post is scheduled sometime next week (if you're interested/bored of turkey/bored of watching Christmas films - delete as appropriate).

Music to close and as always at this time of year, it wouldn't be the same without Kirsty and Shane. And please, do try to stay out of the drunk tank this Christmas...


[1] Rogers DC. et al. Fatigue in an adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder population: A trans-diagnostic approach. Br J Clin Psychol. 2016 Dec 5.

[2] Sáez-Francàs N. et al. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in chronic fatigue syndrome patients. Psychiatry Res. 2012 Dec 30;200(2-3):748-53.

---------- Rogers, D., Dittner, A., Rimes, K., & Chalder, T. (2016). Fatigue in an adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder population: A trans-diagnostic approach British Journal of Clinical Psychology DOI: 10.1111/bjc.12119

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