Baseline Cortisol Levels Predict Treatment Outcomes in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Nonpharmacologic Clinical Trial Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: Understanding how nonpharmacologic interventions differentially affect the subgroups of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) might provide insights into the pathophysiology of this illness. In this exploratory study, baseline measures of normal versus abnormal cortisol were compared on a variety of immune markers and other self-report measures. Normal versus abnormal cortisol ratings were used as predictors in a nurse-delivered nonpharmacologic intervention. Methods: Participants diagnosed with CFS were assigned to 6-month nonpharmacologic interventions. Individuals were classified as having abnormal or normal cortisol levels on the basis of scores over the five testing times. Cortisol levels were considered abnormal if they continued to rise, were flat, or were at abnormally low over time. Results: Across interventions, those with abnormal cortisol at the baseline appeared not to improve over time, whereas those with normal baseline cortisol evidenced improvements on a number of immunologic and self-report measures. Conclusion: It appears that, in subgroups of individuals with CFS, baseline cortisol markers are associated with outcome trajectories for nonpharmacologic treatment trials. The implications of these findings are discussed. © 2008 by Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

published proceedings

  • Journal Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

author list (cited authors)

  • Jason, L., Torres-Harding, S., Maher, K., Reynolds, N., Brown, M., Sorenson, M., ... Lu, T

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Jason, Leonard||Torres-Harding, Susan||Maher, Kevin||Reynolds, Nadia||Brown, Molly||Sorenson, Matthew||Donalek, Julie||Corradi, Karina||Fletcher, Mary Ann||Lu, Tony

publication date

  • June 2008