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To test or not

If a patient is trying for Social Security disability, neuropsychological testing is the only objective test to show a dysfunction in the brain. MRI and SPECT scans are not standardized for CFS. Again, Dr. Lange pointed out that there are no focal injuries in CFS. It is a diffuse assault of the central nervous system in the brain, so static MRI scans are generally normal.

Dr. Lange urged patients to carefully think about undergoing neuropsychological testing before paying the expense of the testing procedures. She recommended discussing it with a patient's physician before moving forward to identify a clinical neuropsychologist with knowledge about cognitive function in CFS.

Dr. Lange also recommended patients proceed with integrative medicine because a CFS patient must approach the chronic condition in an integrative fashion. That includes pharmacological approaches, but also complementary alternative methods such as low impact physical modalities—tai chi and Qi Gong are two techniques that patients can do at their own pace. Dr. Lange underscored the importance of "coaching," an intervention that can help patients learn ways to gain a modicum of control back over their lives and ultimately, feel better.