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Adolescents With Chronic Fatigue May Suffer Long-Term Effects

Keeping up with healthy peers results in increased fatigue, sleep need

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who do not recover from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) continue to experience extreme fatigue, to use medical services at a high rate, and to miss school and work; and, those who attempt to keep up with their healthy peers experience greater fatigue and need for sleep, according to two articles published in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Stefan M. van Geelen, of the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues followed 54 adolescents with CFS for a mean of 2.2 years to describe the long-term outcomes, use of health care, and risk factors associated with non-recovery in this patient population. They found 28 (51.9 percent) had a near-complete improvement in symptoms, while 26 (48.1 percent) did not improve. Those in school had missed 33 percent of classes on average in the last month, while the other subjects had worked 38.7 percent of a full-time job on average. Of all the subjects, 66.7 percent were treated by a physical therapist, 38.9 percent received clinical treatment in rehabilitation, 48.1 percent had received psychological support, and 53.7 percent had used alternative treatment.

Yue Huang, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues evaluated 301 adolescents with acute infectious mononucleosis in the two years after diagnosis to compare fatigue severity and activity levels in those who did and did not recover from the infection. They found 39 subjects met criteria for CFS six months after infection, and that physical activity levels dropped while sleep increased in the group with CFS and the group without it. Compared with those without CFS, those with CFS reported significantly higher levels of fatigue over the two-year follow-up and spent significantly more time sleeping during the day at both six and 12 months after infection.

"Adolescents with CFS appear to be pushing themselves in an attempt to maintain similar activity levels as their peers, but paying for it in terms of fatigue severity and an increased need for sleep, particularly during the day," Huang and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - van Geelen
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Abstract - Huang
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