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Few Physical Differences Found Between Healthy Individuals And Those Afflicted By Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Monday 8 July 2019
Few physical differences found between healthy individuals and those afflicted by chronic fatigue syndrome
Norwegian researchers studied adolescents who developed chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and chronic fatigue (CF) after having mononucleosis.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) affects thousands of people in Norway.
Little is understood about the cause of the disease, but research has shown that it can be triggered by infections. Many people develop ME/CFS following a bout of mononucleosis – sometimes called mono or “the kissing disease” – which is a viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.
But not everyone who gets mono ends up with chronic fatigue syndrome. What separates those who get ME/CFS from those who don’t? Understanding these differences could give us hints about which mechanisms are behind ME/CFS.
The results of a Norwegian study that explored this very question have now been published.
The results show some small differences in the immune system between people who regain their health and those who develop ME/CFS or other chronic fatigue after mono, but not enough to explain the dramatic disparity in symptoms.
Professor Vegard Bruun Bratholm Wyller led the study and believes the results support the hypothesis that ME/CFS is due to a hypersensitivity in the brain. This leads to signals from the outside world being over-interpreted because the nervous system is on continuous high alert.
Professor and paediatrician Kristian Sommerfelt, on the other hand, believes that the results only show that the participants with a lot of symptoms after their bout with mono more often develop chronic fatigue, and in some cases chronic fatigue syndrome.
He notes that brain hypersensitivity was not investigated in this study.
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