Why Can’t We Think Well When We’re Sick?

This isn’t specif­i­cal­ly about CFS/ME or FMS, but I found it inter­est­ing, and I think it makes sense.

Why Men­tal Lethar­gy When Sick

Dur­ing an infec­tion, humans typ­i­cal­ly expe­ri­ence a set of phys­i­o­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal symp­toms, includ­ing fever, con­fu­sion, decreased moti­va­tion, depres­sion and anx­i­ety that are accom­pa­nied by a slow­ing of movements.

These changes, col­lec­tive­ly known as “sick­ness behav­ior,” are the body’s way of con­serv­ing ener­gy dur­ing ill­ness so that an effec­tive immune response can be launched. This new study helps researchers fur­ther under­stand how cytokines com­mu­ni­cate between the immune sys­tem and the brain to pro­mote sick­ness behavior.

Since many peo­ple with CFS/ME have chron­ic fevers and oth­er symp­toms sim­i­lar to those of infec­tious ill­ness­es, I have to won­der if the results of this study will be exam­ined with regard to CFS/ME.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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One thought on “Why Can’t We Think Well When We’re Sick?

  1. Actu­al­ly it is — but unfor­tu­nate­ly not in the good way. James Jones, a virol­o­gist who stud­ies ME/CFS at the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol, wrote a paper recent­ly argu­ing that peo­ple with ME/CFS have become stuck in sick­ness behav­ior even though we are no longer sick. And because we are stuck in this aber­rant sick­ness behav­ior, we’re too focused on every lit­tle thing we’re feel­ing, or rather have height­ened “inte­ro­cep­tion”. His cure, as you might imag­ine, is cog­ni­tive behav­ioral therapy. 

    You can read the paper at the Co-Cure board here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2wen2z (I hope that link works!)

    Now, what would make inter­est­ing research is look­ing at the bio­log­i­cal rea­sons we are in a chron­ic state of sick­ness behavior. 🙂

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