Saturday, January 17, 2009

Research shows genetic abnormalities in ME/CFS patients

From 15 December 2008:
Research shows genetic abnormalities in CFS patients

New research from the United Kingdom supports the theory that patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (referred to outside the U.S. as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) have identifiable genetic markers for the disease.

London’s Journal of Infectious Diseases reported in March of this year that seven (7) genetic sub-types could be found in the genotype of patients diagnosed with CFS/ME.

The same team of researchers is now conducting a follow-up study, using “a larger number of patients in order to confirm the existence of these CFS subtypes, to determine their natural history, the most important and predictive genes which can be used to aid diagnosis, and to determine the particular immune cells in which these abnormalities occur.”

European physicians have led the world in research regarding CFS/ME, recognizing symptoms of the disease as “neurasthenia” as far back as 1869.

In 1955 a relatively large outbreak of the illness in England sparked a renewed interest in research into the etiology of the disease.

The European medical community’s attention to the physiological origins of CFS/ME allowed researchers a head-start, while efforts in the U.S. have been hampered by a kind of medical “tabu” in which misinformed physicians tend to either minimze patients’ symptomology, or blame their experience of exhaustion and pain on mental health conditions such as depression.

Unfortunately, such misdiagnosis can add to the stress that many CFS/ME patients experience, and therefore tend to either cause or exacerbate such depression, leading to further confusion in the differential diagnoses process.

U.K. research focusing on the physiological components of the disease will hopefully go a long way toward validating patients’ experiences, and re-educating the American medical community about the disease’s primary nature and treatment.


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