Entries in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (4)


Chronic Fatigue Study Supports Autoimmune Theory

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BERGEN, Norway) -- A new study supports the theory that chronic fatigue syndrome is an autoimmune disease, offering patients with the controversial condition new hope for a cure.

Two injections of the cancer drug Rituximab, which suppresses the immune system, relieved chronic fatigue symptoms in 10 of 15 patients several months later, according to a small Norwegian clinical trial. The drug works by depleting the body's B-cells, lymphocytes that release antibodies important for fighting infections. It has also been shown to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, another autoimmune disease.

The study suggests antibodies might be misguidedly attacking patients' own tissues in chronic fatigue syndrome, and that the delayed relief from Rituximab is linked to the "gradual elimination of autoantibodies," Øystein Fluge of Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, and colleagues wrote in the journal PLoS One.

The trial stemmed from a fluky finding: A patient taking Rituximab for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma experienced an unexpected decrease in chronic fatigue symptoms. The researchers have now launched a phase 2 clinical trial that will incorporate "maintenance" Rituximab injections three to 15 months after the initial treatment.

The autoimmune theory of chronic fatigue syndrome was bolstered by a 2009 study that linked the condition to a virus called XMRV. But the study was knocked down last month when nine independent labs failed to replicate the findings, leaving chronic fatigue patients -- many of whom battle skepticism about their condition -- still searching for answers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Frequently Undiagnosed in Teens

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(UTRECHT, Netherlands) -- More common in adults, chronic fatigue syndrome in teens is often overlooked, according to Dutch researchers.

Dr. S.L. Nihjof, a co-author on the report, published in the journal Pediatrics, notes that general practice doctors generally do not diagnose teens due to its rarity among them.  It is often passed off as tiredness typical of busy or active teens.

"Fatigue is a common complaint among adolescents, with a good prognosis," Nijhof said.  "Chronic fatigue syndrome is much less common, but with serious consequences."

In their analysis of medical data and a national survey looking at newly diagnosed chronic fatigue patients, the researchers found that about 1 in 900 teens developed chronic fatigue, a much smaller number compared to adult cases.

But, the researchers say, nearly 75 percent of the teens were not diagnosed by a a general physician.  Instead, they found that most cases had been diagnosed by a pediatrician or other health care provider.

As a result of the illness, 90 percent of teens with the condition miss a significant amount of school (as much as 15 percent), according to the national survey.

Dr. Nancy Klimas, director of the Chronic Fatigue Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine tells HealthDay News, that parents should be attentive to their teens for potential chronic fatigue.  She notes that the condition can often occur after mononucleosis infections, particularly if teens return to school and other activities to quickly.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients Grow Weary of Doubt

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are largely unknown, but some possible triggers include infectious agents, immunological dysfunction and nutritional deficiency.

The condition has long been surrounded by controversy. For years, many doctors wouldn't recognize chronic fatigue syndrome as a legitimate disorder. Many CFS patients say they have visited doctors who are totally unaware of the illness. When tested, patients' lab work often comes back clear, and because of this, some doctors have argued that the condition is psychological, not physiological.

In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University School of Medicine, researchers found that CFS was associated with an increased prevalence of personality disorders. Authors also said that personality may be a risk factor for CFS and may contribute to the maintenance of the illness.

But Dr. Elizabeth R. Unger, acting chief of CDC's Chronic Viral Diseases Branch and spokesperson for the study, said that personality disorders may not cause CFS but rather, act as a secondary symptom of any chronic or severe disease.

"Other studies have found personality disorders were associated with fatigue and depression, as well as with chronic fatigue syndrome," said Unger. "The objectives of this study were to follow up on previous personality research as well as to describe the prevalence of personality disorders in people with CFS."

In the study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, the authors examined more than 500 patients from Georgia. More than 100 participants had been diagnosed with CFS, 264 participants had unexplained fatigue without CFS and another 124 healthy participants made up the control group.

Investigators administered the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire, a survey used by health professionals to screen clients for various personality disorders. Study authors said that 29 percent of participants with CFS had at least one personality disorder, compared with 28 percent of the non-CFS patients and seven percent of the control group.

"A lot of people cried foul when this study came out, and since then, there has been rigorous debate," said Dr. Nancy Klimas, a professor of medicine, psychology, microbiology and immunology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "My reaction from my own clinical experience is: No, I don't believe that. My patients tend not to have those [personality] issues."

"I feel bad about this study because these poor patients get nothing but attitude, they're patronized and have a poor standard of care," said Klimas. "It's just not right. They're terribly ill and they deserve better than that. "

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Federal Committee Moves to Change Name of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to Reflect Seriousness

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Thursday, a federal advisory committee unanimously agreed to change the name of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to CFS-ME, according to MedPage Today.  The recommendation comes from the perceived need to make the disease sound more serious.

The "ME" could stand for either myalgic encephalomyelitis or myalgic encephalopathy, the panel said.

None of the 11 members of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee, a committee of experts intended to advise the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS),  questioned the decision to change the name of the disease.

Despite the unanimous agreement for the name change, MedPage Today said the "ME" is controversial to those in ME groups because ME is seen by some as a more serious condition.  This is due largely to the ME's identifiable trigger -- a viral illness -- where as medical professionals have yet to identify a cause for CFS.

However, patients pleaded with the panel on Thursday to either change the name altogether or else tack on the "ME."

"Fatigue is just one symptom of the disease," one CFS patient told the panel via telephone. "You don't call Parkinson's 'shaking disease' or Alzheimer's 'forgetting disease.'"

Panelist Dr. Susan Levine, a physician and researcher who treats CFS patients, agreed that the name "chronic fatigue syndrome" doesn't accurately reflect the seriousness of the disease, reports MedPage.

"If it has a more scientific name, we might receive more funding than if it has a name that sounds just like you need to take a nap," she said.

The panel also endorsed a recommendation for HHS to create a national CFS-ME network of treatment centers in order to expand access to care, to develop educational initiatives, and to allow researchers to share data.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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