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Cognitive testing causes mental exhaustion lasting days

Simon McGrath takes a brief look at a recent paper that reveals some of the most powerful evidence of cognitive problems in people with ME/CFS to date…

Confused, exhausted, depressed - pixabayIt might not come as a huge surprise to patients, but a new study has found that mental fatigue can persist long after mental exertion is over.

Specifically, after a 3-hour session of cognitive testing of memory and attention, healthy controls took an average of 7 hours to recover, compared with 57 hours – more than two days – for CFS patients.

While one previous study found mental fatigue continues days after physical exertion, this appears to be the first research paper to demonstrate that mental exertion itself leads to prolonged mental fatigue.

To me, the large difference found between patients and controls makes this some of the most powerful evidence of the cognitive problems in ME/CFS.

Interestingly, this finding only came about thanks to the alertness of Susan Cockshell, the lead researcher who told me:

“I hadn’t originally planned to collect this data, but I had to follow up one of my first participants a few days after testing and she told me she was still fatigued.”

So, post-test mental fatigue was added to the measures.

Mental fatigue for both healthy controls and patients peaked several hours after testing (albeit at lower levels for controls), but 24 hours later, controls were back to pre-test levels while patients were not.

It’s hard to believe we’ve waited till now to even see testing of post-exertional mental fatigue. Cockshell commented that surprisingly little data existed in this area, but her study shows it is an issue that needs further investigation.

Subjective measures don’t match objective measures

The main aim of the study was actually to see if patients’ reports of problems with mental tasks were backed up by objective test of cognitive function – specifically of memory and concentration, two distinctive problems with ME/CFS.

The result? There was no significant correlation between patient reports of fatigue and measured cognitive performance. But this doesn’t mean that patients don’t really have problems with mental tasks because, as Cockshell pointed out, there was also no correlation in healthy controls either (healthy controls reported some problems with memory and concentration too).

The paper concludes:

“There is little evidence for a relationship between subjective and objective measures of cognitive functioning for both people with CFS and healthy controls, which suggests that they may be capturing different constructs.”

In fact, a lot of evidence now shows that people’s self-reported cognitive problems aren’t matched by the kind of objective tests used in these studies, which does beg the question: Do we need better tests of cognitive problems in the real world?

Stroop testTo understand this issue better, let’s take the example of concentration, which in the real world means problems such as focusing on reading or blocking out background noise. One measure of concentration (or ‘attention’ in the jargon) is the “Stroop” – a quirky test with a quirky name.

The simplest way to see how it works is just to look at the two lists on the left. Don’t read them, instead say the colour each word is displayed in, as quickly as you can. Not so easy, but try it online!

Of course, we never have to do tasks like this in real life (and most other cognitive tests are similarly contrived), so is this a meaningful way to measure patients’ problems? 

One researcher and clinician, Gudron Lange, has highlighted how everyday tasks, such as going shopping, involve multi-tasking, something that most cognitive tests miss.

Lange has suggested using cognitive tests that include multi-tasking – and virtual reality now provides a way to test real-life scenarios using multi-tasking in the lab.

Cockshell agrees that more work is needed in this area:

“I think a better understanding of the cognitive problems occurring in the real world is required … but that’s a whole other area of research.”

Patients don’t overestimate their problems

Some researchers have argued that the problem in CFS isn’t that patients can’t do much or perform well, but that they simply underestimate how much they actually do, almost seeing CFS as a delusion syndrome. But this new study, like several others, found that the theory doesn’t hold up:

“Self-reported problems were not due to people with CFS overestimating their problems, as they were able to accurately evaluate their performance on most cognitive tests.”

In fact, patients were at least as good as controls at judging their own performance.

The future…

These clear findings of extended fatigue after the testing fit with an earlier fMRI study (also by Lange), indicating that CFS patients had to use more brain areas to achieve the same results as healthy controls. As Cockshell says:

“People with CFS may perform comparably to their peers by expending additional cognitive effort, and this may subsequently impact on their levels of fatigue.”

This paper provides powerful new evidence of the problems faced by patients with our condition. Yet the mismatch between reported issues and objective performance suggests there we still haven’t found the best way to measure the very real problems experienced by ME/CFS.

Hopefully, this will soon change.

Susan Cockshell will be speaking about her work at the IACFS Conference on Sunday 23.3.14. Read more: Brain Fog: The research.

Simon McGrath tweets on ME/CFS research:

'I was completely lost and in the dark before I found this website. I can never express what this place means to me.' Phoenix Rising forum member

{ 89 comments… add one }

  • MeSci March 22, 2014, 11:26 am
    peggy-sue

    I honestly believe that this is something that should be much better known.

    It happens to not just PWME, but to many folk, in very important situations, such as in court, or at a tribunal or whatever.

    You look as if you're coherent, but in reality you're not, so you get shafted.

    That used to be me after a heavy session at the pub!:lol: I very rarely appeared intoxicated to other people, but I sure was.

    Now I sometimes appear intoxicated when I haven't touched a drop…:(

    I don't think people realise when I have brain fog, hence the leaflet I have produced to give guests. But it's hard to tell at the time…because I have brain fog.

  • MeSci March 22, 2014, 11:34 am
    Hip

    Anyone else relate to this? Anyone else find that activities which are stimulating, exciting, with a long stream of micro-deadlines, leave you far more exhausted afterwards, compared to activities which are meditative, relaxing, and without micro-deadlines?

    With me it's simply a case of not being to process information fast enough, just as my muscles won't respond fast enough for me to do things more quickly. I think that's standard for ME. As soon as I try to think fast, my brain seems to stop working, and as soon as I try to walk faster, e.g. to keep up with someone, my legs turn to jelly and I am out of breath and exhausted.

    I had to spend about an hour on the phone a few years ago, with two (or was it three?) people at the other end, essentially interviewing me for a work contract. Because I desperately needed the money, I made what felt like a superhuman effort to concentrate. Afterwards I collapsed in a chair, my brain completely shattered and unable to think at all. It took about half an hour or more to recover.

    As I think someone has said above, we have to use more of our brain to process information than non-ME people, which could account partly for the fatiguability.

  • peggy-sue March 22, 2014, 12:54 pm

    That has actually been demonstrated with fMRI or EEGs, can't remember which, which confirms it as being a reality, not a theory. That more brain areas are called on to achieve some mental process…

  • peggy-sue March 22, 2014, 5:28 pm

    Hip, I can't cope with the chat feature on this site – far too complicated and confusing.:(
    Like you, I like emails and messages on threads, where I can deal with little bits at my own speed and while my brain is in gear for that subject.

    I feel bad about ignoring some folk who have asked me for chats – but I simply cannot cope with them.

  • Leopardtail March 22, 2014, 6:04 pm
    Wayne

    Wow Rachael, quite a remarkable post. Congratulations on learning how to control your illness! I've long felt many of my symptoms are a result of an up-regulated immune system, and I've often experimented with immune modulating herbs and supplements. My hope was they would support some parts of my immune system, and down-regulate other parts.

    I never seemed to experience any noticeable improvements, whether it was Moducare, various mushrooms, sterols and sterolins, etc. But I never thought about trying to directly suppress my immune system, which is quite an intriguing concept for me. Could you share how you came to decide this was what you needed to do, and what kind of ongoing protocol you follow? Much appreciated!

    BTW, I share some of your perspectives on "highly sensitive". I once read that part of the function of the physical body is to protect us from "the harsh vibrations of the physical world" (or something to that effect). And I've wondered if my own sensitivity is a result of very compromised physical health, leading to my body's inability to filter out some of the harshness we're surrounded by in this world we live in. Perhaps especially from some of our modern communications technologies.

    Thank you for your post. :thumbsup:

    Wayne

    Wayne,

    when 'joe public' talks about the immune system it's normally infections that are being talked about. It's important to remember though that it's also responsible for getting rid of old bits of cells that are past their cell-by date, by-products of chemical reactions in the body and so on. The evidence on the immune system is still coming in but there are quite a few strange things going on. Rather than thinking of the immune system being over-active, or under-active, you need to think more of it being 'out of balance' in ME. We do (often) under-produce various hormones that regulate the immune system.

    Whether impaired immunity causes ME or vice-versa has been one of the hot topics of medical science. One thing that does seem certain though, is that once you have ME boosting your immune system is a must. The most obvious things you can do without your doctors helps is make sure you are taking plenty of antioxidants. Vitamin C is used for a whole bunch of stuff and I found I did not start recovering until I took 5000mg per day. Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic acid are also among the things recommended by KDM.

    People show mixed reactions but I found that Ribose combined with Acetyl-L-Carnitine most effect but both should be taken with food. Negative side effects are more likely on an empty stomach and more likely in the first few weeks.

    What are your main symptoms Wayne?

    Leo.

  • Leopardtail March 22, 2014, 6:14 pm
    Hip

    Has anyone noted, as I have in myself, that mental exhaustion occurs much more after mental tasks or activities which are stimulating, exciting, and which involve conforming to a constant stream of what I will call "micro-deadlines", compared to tasks which are meditative, relaxing and don't involve any particular time deadlines.

    By micro-deadlines, I mean situations where your brain has to respond within very short time scales, like within seconds or mintues. An example is a face-to-face conversation, where you tend to automatically and immediately respond to what the other person has said; or an instant messaging (IM) conversation on a computer, where you have to respond relatively quickly to the other person online. Both these activities involve a a constant stream of micro-deadlines while they are taking place.

    I have noticed that I can spend 4 hours straight of writing comments online (like on this forum) and writing emails, and I feel fine afterwards, because I find that these activities are meditative, relaxing and do not involve micro-deadlines.

    However, if I spent say 2 hours in an instant messaging conversation online, using the same computer, I would find myself quite drained and mentally exhausted afterwards, because this is an activity which to me is stimulating, exciting, and requires me to mentally respond to a long series of micro-deadlines. This requirement to respond to micro-deadlines seems to place the brain in a higher state of alert or arousal, and I think it may be this which, at least in my case, causes much faster depletion of mental energy.

    I never use instant messaging for this very reason. I always prefer to communicate by email, which I can do at my own relaxed pace, so it does not deplete mental energy as fast.

    And for this same reason, I have to limit and ration my social activities each week. If I go out to see some friends, and I spend say an evening of 3 or 4 hours talking to friends, this leaves me quite mentally numb afterwards, and for the next day or two, even though during the socializing, I am quite energetic and animated in conversation. The PEM exhaustion only hits me some hours later, and in the next day or two.

    Thus I actually lose productive days in my week, just from that 3 or 4 hours of socializing. So I tend to limit my social evenings out to no more than once a week, if I can help it. I am fine, however, if I keep my daily total social conversations to just 30 minutes or so.

    Anyone else relate to this? Anyone else find that activities which are stimulating, exciting, with a long stream of micro-deadlines, leave you far more exhausted afterwards, compared to activities which are meditative, relaxing, and without micro-deadlines?

    The part I recognise most is 'rapid demand' quickly followed by 'multi-tasking'.

    For example I can cope with one person talking to me at once without too much trouble (with moderate fatigue) but can't cope with multiple people talking and the timing of 'who speaks next'. With very heavy fatigue though I do need 'time alone'.

    I can also find anything that bombards me with information (e.g. fast moving plots on TV) equally difficult to deal with. My speed of processing is MUCH lower than it used to be. The thing I find most damaging though are things like government forms where you have to get it right and communication is not at all interactive. I find that part of communication where you have to 'imagine how this well be read' really very demanding.

  • Hip March 22, 2014, 7:41 pm
    peggy-sue

    Hip, I can't cope with the chat feature on this site – far too complicated and confusing.:(
    Like you, I like emails and messages on threads, where I can deal with little bits at my own speed and while my brain is in gear for that subject.

    Yes, me too. I have the chat feature on this site switched off, just because I know if I get into an instant messaging conversation, it will make my brain feel numb afterwards.

  • peggy-sue March 22, 2014, 7:44 pm

    Can it be turned off?
    How?

    If I do that, will the folk who have tried to, or might try to, chat with me, know that it is turned off?

    If that were the case, I wouldn't have to feel so bad about ignoring folk.

  • MeSci March 22, 2014, 8:12 pm
    peggy-sue

    Can it be turned off?
    How?

    I asked this and got an effective answer – to my great relief! See this thread.

    The chat bar was driving me mad. I can't cope with things moving on screen or getting in the way when I am trying to read text.

    I have no idea whether people will know that you have it turned off. Maybe you could have a message in your profile that says you can't cope with chat?

  • Hip March 22, 2014, 8:15 pm

    @peggy-sue
    Yes, to turn off chat, just click on the rightmost chat tab (the one that says ".. People Here"). Then at the top of the chat window that pops up, the click on the little cog wheel symbol, and select "Turn Off".

  • peggy-sue March 22, 2014, 8:27 pm

    Wheeeee, thanks, Hip!

    I was even able to read your instructions at the same time as doing it – no horrid little computery boxy bits appeared occluding everything, I didn't have to keep bouncing from one window to another, forgetting what I'd just read by the time I get the next one open.

    Why can't the business of using computers be made people friendly?

    Thanks for that idea, MeSci:love:
    As you might be able to see, I have done it. Hopefully, if I've ignored somebody, they'll see it (unless they've got me on an ignore because of my "rudeness")

  • Wayne March 22, 2014, 8:42 pm
    Hip

    Anyone else relate to this? Anyone else find that activities which are stimulating, exciting, with a long stream of micro-deadlines, leave you far more exhausted afterwards, compared to activities which are meditative, relaxing, and without micro-deadlines?

    I can totally relate, on just about every count. Trying to keep up with conversations is especially challenging. When the conversants are people who tend to interrupt each other, it's even more difficult. I much prefer one person at a time talking, not only in personal conversations, but in TV interviews where's there's more than one guest.

  • MeSci March 22, 2014, 9:00 pm
    Wayne

    I can totally relate, on just about every count. Trying to keep up with conversations is especially challenging. When the conversants are people who tend to interrupt each other, it's even more difficult. I much prefer one person at a time talking, not only in personal conversations, but in TV interviews where's there's more than one guest.

    I have to turn off programmes where people interrupt each other, or talk at the same time, or when random music keeps kicking in during speech. I often find myself clutching my head in distress and shouting "Stop it!" or similar as I rush to turn it off.

  • peggy-sue March 22, 2014, 9:06 pm

    I wish they wouldn't put such loud background music behind speech.

    Are there not tvs with a feature for turning background noise off, to assist folk with hearing difficulties?

    I have to look away if things move too fast (can't stand "action" films) and ask M who got killed and who survived.

    I spent the entire film Braveheart, unable to look at anything, so I've not a clue what happened. It was just a lot of unpleasant noise.

    I can't bear audience noise, or applause…
    I'm a right moaner.:rolleyes:

  • Hip March 22, 2014, 9:48 pm

    One of the things I find grates on the mind is the fast-paced camera editing used in many modern films, where you never get more than around 3 seconds on any one scene or face, before the next scene appears, ie, where the whole film is just a series of short edits around 3 seconds long. The Bourne Identity is one such film like this that comes to mind.

    My brain finds it uncomfortable to process this constant rapid change of visual scenery in these films. For healthy people, no doubt this fast-paced editing lends an edgy, exciting feel to the film; but for me, it ruins my enjoyment of the film.

    Also, the shaky camerawork used in many modern films I find a little unpleasant.

    I prefer older films, where cameras were solidly fixed to dollies, so that they did not shake, and where directors tended to use lingering, longer shots on scenes and faces.

  • Leopardtail March 22, 2014, 10:31 pm
    peggy-sue

    I wish they wouldn't put such loud background music behind speech.

    Are there not tvs with a feature for turning background noise off, to assist folk with hearing difficulties?

    I have to look away if things move too fast (can't stand "action" films) and ask M who got killed and who survived.

    I spent the entire film Braveheart, unable to look at anything, so I've not a clue what happened. It was just a lot of unpleasant noise.

    I can't bear audience noise, or applause…
    I'm a right moaner.:rolleyes:

    My TV is an LG. It can't turn background music off, but does have some mysterious feature that selectively boosts voice VERY well and thereby allows volume to be turned down. That prevents the loud music terrorising me. Lot's of TV's have this feature but it works much better on the LGs – it also has very good sound quality which helps me a lot. There is a company called "Richer Sounds" that sells via the web in britain and gives much better info on sound issues.

  • Wayne March 22, 2014, 10:44 pm

    Ditto, ditto, ditto on the comments about unwelcome music (even in PBS documentaries for heaven's sake), and fast paced camera and film editing. They apparently believe they need to do this to keep viewers' attention, but research has been done showing that slow-paced learning of all kinds keeps people's attention far better.

  • Valentijn March 23, 2014, 9:03 am
    Leopardtail

    My TV is an LG. It can't turn background music off, but does have some mysterious feature that selectively boosts voice VERY well and thereby allows volume to be turned down. That prevents the loud music terrorising me. Lot's of TV's have this feature but it works much better on the LGs – it also has very good sound quality which helps me a lot. There is a company called "Richer Sounds" that sells via the web in britain and gives much better info on sound issues.

    If you have surround sound, and the program supports it, you can use that to listen. And you can change the settings to make the center speaker (which usually has the dialogue coming out of it) much louder. I turn that one up as much as possible, and I also turn the bass down as far as possible. Then everything sounds about right – I can hear the dialogue without my eardrums being blown away by special effects noises.

  • MeSci March 23, 2014, 10:08 am
    Hip

    One of the things I find grates on the mind is the fast-paced camera editing used in many modern films, where you never get more than around 3 seconds on any one scene or face, before the next scene appears, ie, where the whole film is just a series of short edits around 3 seconds long. The Bourne Identity is one such film like this that comes to mind.

    My brain finds it uncomfortable to process this constant rapid change of visual scenery in these films. For healthy people, no doubt this fast-paced editing lends an edgy, exciting feel to the film; but for me, it ruins my enjoyment of the film.

    Also, the shaky camerawork used in many modern films I find a little unpleasant.

    I prefer older films, where cameras were solidly fixed to dollies, so that they did not shake, and where directors tended to use lingering, longer shots on scenes and faces.

    TV news and documentaries often use these silly effects now, such as suddenly switching from colour to monochrome and back again, going from a full-body shot to a close-up of someone's hands, etc. It's as though the cameraperson feels compelled to show off all the weird arty techniques they have learned, or wants to dictate to the viewer what s/he should be focusing on.

    I like to decide what to focus on, and we are all different, so I wish they would just give us the full shot and let us look around as we do when interacting in real life.

    It has also become increasingly common on UK TV to suddenly change the speed of a price of film.

    Like you, I just find it all so distracting that I can't follow what's happening.

    Some of this is probably due to fatigue of the eye muscles.

  • Leopardtail March 23, 2014, 12:39 pm
    MeSci

    TV news and documentaries often use these silly effects now, such as suddenly switching from colour to monochrome and back again, going from a full-body shot to a close-up of someone's hands, etc. It's as though the cameraperson feels compelled to show off all the weird arty techniques they have learned, or wants to dictate to the viewer what s/he should be focusing on.

    I like to decide what to focus on, and we are all different, so I wish they would just give us the full shot and let us look around as we do when interacting in real life.

    It has also become increasingly common on UK TV to suddenly change the speed of a price of film.

    Like you, I just find it all so distracting that I can't follow what's happening.

    Some of this is probably due to fatigue of the eye muscles.

    Not sure about eye muscles (for me personally), but it definitely overloads cognition. Where they are jumping backwards and forwards in time though, I do find it helpful when the 'historical stuff' is in mono – lowers cognitive demand. The thing I find hardest though is definitely volume jumping up and down.

  • peggy-sue March 23, 2014, 1:25 pm

    What's an LG?
    I get all confused where they jump back and forward in time too. Or have more than one story going on at the same time. (CSI does that a lot)

  • Leopardtail March 23, 2014, 2:40 pm

    LG is a brand of TV, they seem to have better 'voice enahancement' and generally better sound for their price point in some models.
    I find music shows are much better on mine than with most TVs without surround sound. Less distortion, less booming, less awful peaks in volume.

  • peggy-sue March 23, 2014, 3:01 pm

    I hate surround sound!
    I keep getting frights when something seems to come from elsewhere in the room…

  • Leopardtail March 23, 2014, 3:17 pm
    peggy-sue

    I hate surround sound!
    I keep getting frights when something seems to come from elsewhere in the room…

    Thanks peggy, that made me smile…..

  • peggy-sue March 23, 2014, 3:36 pm

    :p
    Frights are not fun. I jump, it makes me move the leg with sciatica in it. It HURTS.:(
    If the cat is sitting on me, she gets a fright because I've jumped – so she leaps up and digs claws in.
    That hurts too.:(

  • Leopardtail March 23, 2014, 4:01 pm
    peggy-sue

    :p
    Frights are not fun. I jump, it makes me move the leg with sciatica in it. It HURTS.:(
    If the cat is sitting on me, she gets a fright because I've jumped – so she leaps up and digs claws in.
    That hurts too.:(

    I pictured myself doing the same thing hence the amusement was at myself. Sorry if that was not clear. My cat (now deceased) was at times so skittish she would have made me jump due to the claws. At others she just scouled at me as if to say "quit the jumping and chillax, I am sleeping here".

    Of those things, the sciatica (I suffered it briefly) was definitely the worst. Have you found anything that helps for the sciatica?

  • peggy-sue March 23, 2014, 5:22 pm

    Keeping active!:rolleyes:

    Don't worry, I did do a :p to indicate that I understood, (before launching into my melodramatic moan.)

    It's ok when I'm pottering around during the day. I need strong prescription painkillers to get me through the night.

    Muzz and I had a very strange co-ordinated jumping in fright last week – she did the first one, but she must have hit some point in my pelvis that caused a "knee-jerk" reaction in me,

    with the reaction only going via my spine not up to my brain and back down- so it was practically simultaneous, not one being jumping, then another being jumping.

    It had me completely confused for a few moments.

  • Leopardtail March 23, 2014, 6:37 pm
    peggy-sue

    Keeping active!:rolleyes:

    Don't worry, I did do a :p to indicate that I understood, (before launching into my melodramatic moan.)

    It's ok when I'm pottering around during the day. I need strong prescription painkillers to get me through the night.

    Muzz and I had a very strange co-ordinated jumping in fright last week – she did the first one, but she must have hit some point in my pelvis that caused a "knee-jerk" reaction in me,

    with the reaction only going via my spine not up to my brain and back down- so it was practically simultaneous, not one being jumping, then another being jumping.

    It had me completely confused for a few moments.

    I had those 'sciatica' style pains before I started on Mito supplements and antioxidants. I came to the conclusion it was due to oxidative damage to my nerves. In me it produced a 'burning rods' sensation running along the nerves.

    Funny though with high fatigue you could shock me near into a heart attack, but I had no reflexes so the 'knee jerk' thing disappeared completely. I have seen some stuff thyroid related to do with reflexes but have not followed it up.

    Well if anybody is entitled to a bit of melodrama, I think that would be us. LOL

  • peggy-sue March 23, 2014, 7:15 pm

    I have one leg "functionally" shorter than the other.:cautious:

    They haven't suggested it's somatoform, or sent me to a shrink for it yet. :rolleyes:

    But I haven't been sent to a shrink for my ME either.
    Apparently there was one in Dundee, but he was desperately oversubscribed, so refusing to take any more on, and not having any success anyway. (That's what my gp told me. But he is known to tell lies.)

    I am 5' 0" when I stand one one of them, and 5' 2" if I stand on the other.
    The sciatica is caused by the imbalance in my hips, something is pressing on some major nerve right inside my right buttock, (it sends pains up and down the whole leg, jerks, twitches, etc.)
    and the fact that I now tend to walk on a camber.:D

  • Leopardtail March 23, 2014, 7:32 pm
    peggy-sue

    I have one leg "functionally" shorter than the other.:cautious:

    They haven't suggested it's somatoform, or sent me to a shrink for it yet. :rolleyes:

    But I haven't been sent to a shrink for my ME either.
    Apparently there was one in Dundee, but he was desperately oversubscribed, so refusing to take any more on, and not having any success anyway. (That's what my gp told me. But he is known to tell lies.)

    I am 5' 0" when I stand one one of them, and 5' 2" if I stand on the other.
    The sciatica is caused by the imbalance in my hips, something is pressing on some major nerve right inside my right buttock, (it sends pains up and down the whole leg, jerks, twitches, etc.)
    and the fact that I now tend to walk on a camber.:D

    Well if you could 'Somatoform' the length of your legs, then I would wish myself two inches taller both sides :). I have lost two inches in height since ME.

    Don't know about a GP. We need Doctor Who to transport you back to the 1970s so that you can wear great big 8" platforms on one foot, and sawn off 6" platforms on the other. 😀

  • peggy-sue March 23, 2014, 8:08 pm

    Which Dr.Who? (I'm fussy ;))

    Before it got "seen" to I did spend about 3 months wearing one high-heeled (2") bright red clog and one lower-heeled (I") bright lime green one.
    Fortunately, it didn't look out of place on me.:rofl:

    I had my teens in the early '70s. :cautious:
    Don't knock it. We had heavy metal, glam rock, punk and ska then. :thumbsup:
    It wasn't all Grease-y disco!
    And while the clothes and shoes were ridiculous, at least we all knew it – that was the point.:p

  • MeSci March 23, 2014, 8:49 pm
    Leopardtail

    Well if you could 'Somatoform' the length of your legs, then I would wish myself two inches taller both sides :). I have lost two inches in height since ME.

    I appear to have gained 2 inches in the past 2 years! I probably haven't, but I am having to use walking sticks that are two inches longer now. The ones I was using before are much too short now.

    The most likely explanation is that I was stooping before (although my posture has tended to be good all my life).

    Or my arms have become shorter, which may mean that I have evolved…

    Or I am holding my shoulders higher, maybe thanks to my muscle redevelopment.

    It's intriguing, and I must get my height measured when I have the opportunity.

  • Leopardtail March 23, 2014, 8:57 pm
    MeSci

    I appear to have gained 2 inches in the past 2 years! I probably haven't, but I am having to use walking sticks that are two inches longer now. The ones I was using before are much too short now.

    The most likely explanation is that I was stooping before (although my posture has tended to be good all my life).

    Or my arms have become shorter, which may mean that I have evolved…

    Or I am holding my shoulders higher, maybe thanks to my muscle redevelopment.

    It's intriguing, and I must get my height measured when I have the opportunity.

    I have read something to do with Testosterone deficiency causing loss of height… think it had something to do with spinal disks.. but cannot swear to it…

  • MeSci March 23, 2014, 8:59 pm
    Leopardtail

    I have read something to do with Testosterone deficiency causing loss of height… think it had something to do with spinal disks.. but cannot swear to it…

    Oh, maybe I'm turning into a bloke then. :aghhh:

  • Leopardtail March 23, 2014, 9:02 pm
    MeSci

    Oh, maybe I'm turning into a bloke then. :aghhh:

    Start worrying if you get two inches taller…. LOL
    more testosterone = more height…..

    Don't worry … I izz always treating you like a lady… :-)

  • peggy-sue March 23, 2014, 9:17 pm

    I have had my height officially measured (by various nurses) recently at;
    5' 0.5"
    5'
    5' 1.5"
    5' 2"

    I was 5' 1.5" all my life before…

    Your longer sticks, I would think, MeSci, are needed because you are probably holding yourself better?

    – or your arms are disappearing into your shoulders – the way my leg has gone up into my hip:p

  • Valentijn March 24, 2014, 8:09 am
    Leopardtail

    I have read something to do with Testosterone deficiency causing loss of height… think it had something to do with spinal disks.. but cannot swear to it…

    There was also a recent case on one of the British newspaper sites about a women with a collagen disorder (often associated with Ehler-Danlos Syndrome) who was shrinking due to her neck basically having less support.

  • Firestormm March 24, 2014, 10:00 am
    Valentijn

    There was also a recent case on one of the British newspaper sites about a women with a collagen disorder (often associated with Ehler-Danlos Syndrome) who was shrinking due to her neck basically having less support.

    A friend of mine with Diabetes, had had a long time off work feeling really run-down and they thought eventually it was because he was being too strict with his diet. So he upped the intake of sugar, began feeling better: but then a test result came back showing his was rather low in testosterone.

    They measured it over time and still it was showing a marked below average – in a man. So they've now boosted his testosterone levels artificially with shots (or something), and he's back and work and better than before.

    I am not sure if testosterone has anything to do with diabetes or if this was simply a case of him having diabetes as well as being low in testosterone. Incidentally, it took a private series of tests – based on his hunch and I think word of mouth – before the NHS would treat him for these low levels.

    I have never really looked into testosterone before – and haven't now – but it's possible I guess he noticed other things that might have concerned him and indicated to him a low testosterone reading. Men don't always confide much in other men.

  • Leopardtail April 6, 2014, 7:50 pm
    Firestormm

    A friend of mine with Diabetes, had had a long time off work feeling really run-down and they thought eventually it was because he was being too strict with his diet. So he upped the intake of sugar, began feeling better: but then a test result came back showing his was rather low in testosterone.

    They measured it over time and still it was showing a marked below average – in a man. So they've now boosted his testosterone levels artificially with shots (or something), and he's back and work and better than before.

    I am not sure if testosterone has anything to do with diabetes or if this was simply a case of him having diabetes as well as being low in testosterone. Incidentally, it took a private series of tests – based on his hunch and I think word of mouth – before the NHS would treat him for these low levels.

    I have never really looked into testosterone before – and haven't now – but it's possible I guess he noticed other things that might have concerned him and indicated to him a low testosterone reading. Men don't always confide much in other men.

    The answer to your implied question @Firestormm is a resounding yes. Testosterone has a relationship to some forms of diabetes (more strongly in type II) and more recent research implies it plays a role in Insulin action (that is by no means universally agreed as yet).

    Lowered testosterone is very common in people with PWME but by no means universal.

    About normal isn't it? The ME patients must prove their own problem before receiving any help at all.