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A Reboot For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research

Thursday 18 January 2018

 

From Nature:

 

Elizabeth Allen
Elizabeth Allen keeps careful records of the many
treatments she has undergone to relieve
the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
(Credit: Preston Gannaway for Nature)
 

A reboot for chronic fatigue syndrome research

Research into this debilitating disease has a rocky past. Now scientists may finally be finding their footing.

By Amy Maxmen
January 3, 2018
© 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.

Name a remedy, and chances are that Elizabeth Allen has tried it: acupuncture, antibiotics, antivirals, Chinese herbs, cognitive behavioural therapy and at least two dozen more. She hates dabbling in so many treatments, but does so because she longs for the healthy days of her past. The 34-year-old lawyer was a competitive swimmer at an Ivy-league university when she first fell ill with chronic fatigue syndrome, 14 years ago. Her meticulous records demonstrate that this elusive malady is much worse than ordinary exhaustion. “Last year, I went to 117 doctor appointments and I paid $18,000 in out-of-pocket expenses,” she says.

Dumbfounded that physicians knew so little about chronic fatigue syndrome — also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS — Allen resolved several years ago to take part in any study that would have her. In 2017, she got her chance: she entered a study assessing how women with ME/CFS respond to synthetic hormones.

After decades of pleading, people with the condition have finally caught the attention of mainstream science — and dozens of exploratory studies are now under way. Scientists entering the field are using the powerful tools of modern molecular biology to search for any genes, proteins, cells and possible infectious agents involved. They hope the work will yield a laboratory test to diagnose ME/CFS — which might have several different causes and manifestations — and they want to identify molecular pathways to target with drugs.

 

Full article…

 


 

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