A systematic review of quantitative EEG findings in Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Long COVID

Bárbara Silva-Passadouro, Arnas Tamasauskas, Omar Khoja, Alexander j. Casson, Ioannis Delis, Christopher Brown, Manoj Sivan

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Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Long COVID (LC) are similar multisymptom clinical syndromes but with difference in dominant symptoms in each individual. There is existing and emerging literature on possible functional alterations of the central nervous system in these conditions. This review aims to synthesise and appraise the literature on resting-state quantitative EEG (qEEG) in FMS, ME/CFS and LC, drawing on previous research on FMS and ME/CFS to help understand neuropathophysiology of the new condition LC.

A systematic search of MEDLINE, Embase, CINHAL, PsycINFO and Web of Science databases for articles published between December 1994 and September 2023 was performed.

Out of the initial 2510 studies identified, 17 articles were retrieved that met all the predetermined selection criteria, particularly of assessing qEEG changes in one of the three conditions compared to healthy controls. All studies scored moderate to high quality on the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. There was a general trend for decreased low-frequency EEG band activity (delta, theta, and alpha) and increased high-frequency EEG beta activity in FMS, differing to that found in ME/CFS. The limited LC studies included in this review focused mainly on cognitive impairments and showed mixed findings not consistent with patterns observed in FMS and ME/CFS.

Our findings suggest different patterns of qEEG brainwave activity in FMS and ME/CFS. Further research is required to explore whether there are phenotypes within LC that have EEG signatures similar to FMS or ME/CFS.

This could inform identification of reliable diagnostic markers and possible targets for neuromodulation therapies tailored to each clinical syndrome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Early online date6 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2024


  • Electroencephalography
  • Central sensitisation
  • COVID-19
  • Post-Covid Syndrome (PCS)
  • Post Acute Covid Syndrome (PACS)
  • Post-Covid Condition (PCC)


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