College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-14-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Leonard A. Jason, PhD

Second Advisor

Joseph A. Mikels, PhD

Third Advisor

Rex L. Cannon, PhD


The primary aim of this thesis was to explore the relationship between electroencephalography (qEEG) and brain system dysregulation in people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). EEG recordings were taken from an archival dataset of 30 subjects, 15 people with CFS and 15 healthy controls (HCs), evaluated during an eye-closed resting state condition. Exact low resolution electromagnetic tomography (eLORETA) was applied to the qEEG data to estimate cortical sources and perform functional connectivity analysis assessing the strength of time-varying signals between all pairwise cortical regions of interest. To obtain a comprehensive view of local and global processing, eLORETA lagged coherence was computed on 84 regions of interest representing 42 Brodmann areas for the left and right hemispheres of the cortex, for the delta (1-3 Hz) and alpha-1 (8-10 Hz) and alpha-2 (10-12 Hz) frequency bands. Graph theory analysis of eLORETA coherence matrices for each participant was conducted to derive the “small-worldness” index, a measure of the optimal balance between the functional integration (global) and segregation (local) properties known to be present in brain networks. The data were also associated with the cognitive impairment composite score on the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire (DSQ), a patient-reported symptom outcome measure of frequency and severity of cognitive symptoms. Results showed that small-worldness for the delta band was significantly lower for patients with CFS compared to HCs. Small-worldness for delta, alpha-1, and alpha-2 were associated with higher cognitive composite scores on the DSQ. Finally, small-worldness in all 3 frequency bands correctly distinguished those with CFS from HCS with a classification rate of nearly 87 percent. These preliminary findings suggest disease processes in CFS may be functionally disruptive to small-world characteristics, especially in the delta frequency band, resulting in cognitive impairments. In turn, these findings may help to confirm a biological basis for cognitive symptoms, providing clinically relevant diagnostic indicators, and characterizing the neurophysiological status of people with CFS.

SLP Collection