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latest information on research, treatment and diagnosis of CFS and related
Exercise predicts RNase L
carry an unusual protein in their immune system appear to perform worse on
exercise tests than other PWCs, according to new research published in the
journal In Vivo (Vol. 16, No. 2).
Researchers tested a total of 73 people
CFIDS at nine locations across the
The people were asked to exercise until exhaustion on a treadmill.
The participants had already been tested
for the presence of a lighter-than-normal version of a protein called RNase L.
This protein is present in a subset of people with
CFIDS , and has already been linked to higher
overall levels of disability.
The test results showed that the low-weight
RNAse L group fared significantly worse than other PWCs on tests for peak oxygen
consumption, duration of exercise and other related scores. In fact, researchers
who didn’t know the subject’s RNAse L status were able to predict the presence
of the low-weight protein in 91.3 percent of cases based solely on the exercise
The authors say this discovery can
design of future
CFIDS studies, making it
easier for researchers to examine specific subsets of PWCs more
infection common at
CFIDS patients in a recent study reported
having an upper respiratory tract infection just prior to the onset of their
disease, researchers in
The study asked 1,546 people to list
illnesses or unusual health issues that they experienced before becoming sick
CFIDS. Respiratory tract infections were
the most common (24.3%), followed by flu-like illness (13.8%). Stress (9.8%) and
mononucleosis (9.2%) were also reported in a significant percentage of
Among those who met the stricter Holmes
criteria (1988) for CFS, 48.0 percent reported an upper respiratory tract
infection, while 33.6 percent said they suffered from a gradual onset of the
disease without any prior illness.
Almost half the study participants
more than one illness or event prior to the onset of
CFIDS. Researchers say the results strongly
suggest CFIDS is a heterogeneous disease that
can be triggered by a wide number of factors. The study appears in the
Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Vol. 10, No. 2).
Young PWCs show low oxygen
Some young people with
CFIDS may suffer from oxygen-poor blood in
their brains, according to a study in the Journal of Pediatrics (Vol.
140, No. 4).
Researchers examined 16 people ages
who had both
CFIDS and orthostatic intolerance
(OI). When asked to stand up, 15 of the 16 subjects failed to receive a normal
influx of oxygen-carrying red blood cells in their brains. Thirteen of the 16
failed to achieve a normal level even after several minutes of
By contrast, only six of 12 people
CFIDS but not OI showed this reaction, and just
two of 20 healthy subjects. While this may indicate a link between blood
oxygenation in the brain and CFIDS , the authors
note that it does not explain why people can have
CFIDS without OI.
In a related editorial,
CFIDS researcher Peter Rowe, MD, called the
results “intriguing,” but said more testing is required to clarify the possible
link. Rowe said it would be important to see whether the shortage of oxygen
disappears in people who either recover from
CFIDS or whose symptoms improve after being
treated for OI.
Brain changes seen in Gulf War
Many Gulf War veterans
suffer from debilitating diseases, including
CFIDS, that some experts believe are related to
chemical exposure during their service. New, unpublished research claims that
the brains of disabled vets may show changes similar to those in people with
Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.
Speaking at a
congressional hearing held in
Haley, MD, said he had discovered “chemical disturbances” in the brains of some
of the 249 veterans he studied. Haley said his prior research shows that Gulf
war vets are two to three times more likely than the general population to
suffer from motor neurone diseases, which affect coordination and muscle
control. Haley is chief of epidemiology at the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center in Dallas.
Rehab program may aid
researchers report that an intensive, inpatient rehabilitation program may help
some children with
CFIDS return to full-time
Fifty-seven children between the ages
and 19 were admitted to the four-week program, which was conducted in the late
1990s. The program included physiotherapy, nutritional guidance, regular
evaluations by pediatricians, school work and a structured schedule designed to
help re-integrate the child to a regular school environment.
Prior to completing the program, none
the children were attending school regularly. Five years later, 20 of the 41
children who responded to a follow-up questionnaire reported that they were in
school full time.
The study has several limitations.
instance, it is not known how many of the 41 would have returned to school
regardless of whether they attended the program. The authors also noted that
more than half the children in the study still were not attending school full
time. But the authors say the program may be an “important step” in beginning a
The study was published in the Journal
of Pediatric and Child Health (Vol. 38).
CFS Research Review
The CFIDS Chronicle
and The CFS Research Review are produced for people with
CFIDS and medical professionals with an
CFIDS. It is the Association’s
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