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information on research, treatment and diagnosis of
Body temperature not related to
Core body temperature levels are not significantly different in
people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) than in healthy controls, according
to a small study published in the journal Clinical Physiology (Vol. 21, No. 2).
The symptoms of CFS patients sometimes mimic those of people who work unusual
job shifts or who have acute jet lag. As a result, some researchers theorize
that CFS may be related to changes in the body’s circadian rhythms, such as core
body temperature (CBT).
To test this, researchers at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center
in Denver measured CBT in 10 people with CFS and 10 controls. They gave each
subject a special pill that tracked internal temperature for about two days. The
results found that CBT patterns were “nearly indistinguishable” between the two
groups. While CBT is not different, the researchers said that future studies
must look at other body rhythms, such as sleep/wake cycles and hormonal
Quality of life low in CFS patients
People with CFS score
lower than healthy controls on a wide range of quality of life measures —
including pain levels, self-esteem, mobility and capacity to work — according to
a new study in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Vol. 10, No.
Researchers in the Netherlands administered a quality of life questionnaire
created by the World Health Organization to 73 people with CFS and 147 healthy
people. The mean age of the participants was about 39 years, and 85 percent were
Results showed that CFS patients, as a group, scored 8.6 out of 20 on overall
quality of life, compared to 17.1 for the control group. CFS patients scored
worse in five of the six main categories (physical health, psycholog-ical
health, level of independence, social relationships, environment) and about the
same as controls in the spirituality/religion/personal beliefs category.
The authors write that the study results, while not surprising, may help
build understanding about the burdens that people with CFS face in everyday
Alternative/complementary studies available online
in non-traditional treatments for illnesses such as CFS continues to grow. To
help inform the public about the benefits — and concerns — about these
treatments, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Center for
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) have created a searchable online
To access the database, go to
Then click on the “CAM on PubMed” icon. You will be directed to a special
portion of PubMed, the NLM’s search engine that accesses millions of scientific
studies on all health topics. CAM on PubMed limits your search to studies of
complementary and alternative treatments.
A recent search of the CAM database turned up more than 1,200 items listed
under the term “fatigue,” and more than 100 for “chronic fatigue syndrome.” Many
of these items are abstracts of studies, although some include full text.
NCCAM defines complementary and alternative medicine as “those healthcare
practices not currently considered an integral part of conventional medicine.”
This covers a broad range of healing therapies, approaches and systems. Examples
include acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, chiropractic, hypnosis and traditional