Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

Dr. Gudrun Lange reviewed the process of neuropsychological testing for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and FM at the April 28, 2012 Educational Forum co-sponsored by the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association (MassCFIDS) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Dr. Lange said that in the absence of objective biomarkers neuropsychological testing is "the silver bullet" when it comes to qualifying for disability. Cognitive testing is accepted as an objective measure of impairment in function by the Social Security Administration.

[Note: For some long-term disability policies, a finding of impaired cognitive function could lead to a limitation of benefits to two years. Read your policy!—Editor]

Gudrun Lange, Ph.D., is a Clinical Neuropsychologist with sixteen years of experience in the assessment and study of the cognitive and behavioral aspects of chronic pain and persistent fatigue. She has received federal grants for her work and most recently, received National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds for a pilot study to assess the tolerability and efficacy of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy in patients with severe Fibromyalgia (FM) pain.

Dr. Lange's approach

Dr. Lange uses a quantitative, individualized approach to neuropsychological testing that allows for detailed interpretation of the test data within the context of an individual's overall profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

While individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) generally report that the cognitive problems they experience are of great impact on their lives and everyday function, quantitative, objective neuropsychological testing often reveals very subtle cognitive problems.

Many times the deficits found on objective testing do not rise to the level of an absolute impairment.

Dr. Lange argued that any deficits observed need to be interpreted relative to the individuals other strengths and weaknesses, otherwise it may lead to misleading findings.

Notice about names

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently using ME/CFS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are calling the illness CFS.

Until there is consensus on a name for the illness, the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association name will not change.