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EEG: spectral coherence studies

At this point in the lecture, Dr. Komaroff returned to the use of EEG to study spectral coherence in CFS. (EEG stands for an electroencephalogram or “brain wave” test.)

Spectral coherence measures a disorder in the brain between two neurons firing (i.e., when one neuron fires, others should fire simultaneously and when those other neurons fail to fire, an incoherence is created). Different illnesses can present with different patterns of spectral coherence.

In fact, a study that will shortly be submitted for publication, demonstrates that un-medicated CFS patients can be diagnosed using spectral coherence with nearly 90% accuracy (Duffy F, et al.—refer to slide, EEG: Spectral Coherence Studies.) The study also included CFS patients who were on medication.  However, these patients could only be diagnosed with about 73% accuracy, a result which could potentially be due to the remedial effects of the medicine—effects which could result in some increased spectral coherence.

The same study accurately classified both healthy and depressed controls. Dr. Komaroff expressed the hope that with validation of these results through further studies, spectral coherence could be accepted as a reliable method of diagnosis of CFS.