Chronic fatigue syndrome demands new round of nomenclatureÂ
Chronic fatigue syndrome has been talk of the medical world for long. Thus far many people, even experts, refused to take it as a true disease worthy of serious attention.
But things are set to undergo a complete turnaround of sorts in the days to come. A latest study claims that it is a biological disease and needs as much attention and sympathy as any other disease in the world.
Earlier reports too had indicated that chronic fatigue is very serious and can leave people immobile and bed-ridden for years. Researchers have found evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a result of immunological dysfunction, meaning it is a biological illness and not a psychological disorder as commonly thought.
Researchers seem to be very excited with the development. People with CFS or systemic exertion intolerance disease experience extreme fatigue and difficulty concentrating due to headaches and muscle pain.
While talking about the development lead author of the study Mady Hornig, director of translational research at the Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University says “We now have evidence confirming what millions of people with this disease already know, that CFS is not psychological”. “Our results should accelerate the process of establishing the diagnosis after individuals first fall ill as well as discovery of new treatment strategies focusing on these early blood markers,” Hornig added. The researchers identified distinct immune changes in patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, known medically as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS).
Researchers claim that they used immunoassay testing methods to determine the levels of 51 immune biomarkers in blood plasma samples collected through two multicenter studies that represented a total of 298 ME/CFS patients and 348 healthy controls. They found specific patterns in patients who had the disease for three years or less that were not present in controls or in patients who had the disease for more than three years. Short duration patients had increased amounts of many different types of immune molecules called cytokines.
There are other developments too. The association was unusually strong with a cytokine called interferon gamma that has been linked to the fatigue that follows many viral infections, including Epstein-Barr virus (the cause of infectious mononucleosis). “This study delivers what has eluded us for so long: unequivocal evidence of immunological dysfunction in ME/CFS and diagnostic biomarkers for disease,” senior author W. Ian Lipkin from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health noted. The study appeared in the journal Science Advances.