The purpose of this article is to review the evidence of similar symptomatology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC). Reanalysis of data from a study by Jason et al. (2021) comparing symptom reports by two groups of ME/CFS and PASC shows a notably similar symptomatology. Symptom scores of the PASC group and the ME/CFS group correlated .902 (p <.0001). The hypothesis is presented that ME/CFS and PASC are caused by a chronic state of multisystemic disequilibrium including endocrinological, immunological and/or metabolic changes. The hypothesis holds that a changed set-point persistently pushes the organism towards a pathological dysfunctional state which fails to reset. To use an analogy of a thermostat, if the “off switch” of a thermostat intermittently stops working, for periods the house would become warmer and warmer without limit. The hypothesis draws on recent investigations of the Central Homeostasis Network showing multiple interconnections between the autonomic system, central nervous system and brain stem. The hypothesis helps to explain the shared symptomatology of ME/CFS and PASC and the unpredictable, intermittent and fluctuating pattern of symptoms in ME/CFS and PASC. The current theoretical approach remains speculative and requires in-depth investigation before any definite conclusions can be drawn.
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Neuroscience Clinical Neuroscience