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The latest information
on research, treatment and diagnosis of CFIDS and related disorders
Sinusitis, CFIDS linked
University professor has discovered a possible link between CFIDS and common
sinusitis, two conditions that have never before been associated with each
In the August 11 issue of Archives of Internal
Medicine, Alexander C. Chester, MD, outlines a study he conducted with 297
patients in his general internal medicine practice. Sixty-five patients (22
per-cent) had unexplained chronic fatigue, while 11 percent
presented with unexplained chronic pain and nine percent
presented with both conditions.
These ratios are not uncommon in general practice. But Dr.
Chester also found that sinus symptoms were nine times more likely to occur in
patients with unexplained fatigue and six times more likely in patients with
unexplained chronic pain. The association with unexplained fatigue and sinusitis
also was stronger than the association between sinusitis and other types of
fatigue that could be explained by physical or mental conditions.
Of the 65 patients with unexplained chronic fatigue, 15 met
the criteria for CFIDS. The majority of these patients had sinus symptoms. In
addition, many of the CFIDS patients said they had a sudden onset of their
condition, which often occurs in patients with sinusitis.
Dr. Chester says it’s too early to speculate on the reason the
two conditions appear linked. But he says people with CFIDS should be checked
for treatable sinus symptoms.
"While sinusitis will not be the answer for everyone who comes
to an internist with unexplained fatigue or pain, this study does suggest that
it should be considered as a part of a patient’s medical evaluation," Dr.
Mycoplasma debate continues
researchers have long disagreed about the role that infections by a group of
bacteria called mycoplasmas may play in the development or symptomology of the
illness. In fact, there’s debate about whether mycoplasma strains are even
present in the tissue of people with CFIDS (PWCs) in unusual numbers.
Newly published research does little to quell the debate.
Studies appearing in The Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the
Scandina-vian journal APMIS, both authored by the same research team, found that
the blood of more than half of PWCs tested were infected by one of four
But in a letter to the British Journal of Medical
Microbiol-ogy, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) present findings that indicate no unusual amount of myco-plasma
infections in PWCs.
The researchers used blood collected during CDC’s large-scale
CFIDS population study of the residents in Wichita, Kansas (see related
Chronicle article, winter 2003). The CDC authors argue that their detection
methods, which employ DNA sequencing, produces more reliable results than the
polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays used in previous studies.
NIH funds mono study
A five-year, $2.6
million study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will examine the
relationship between mononucleosis and the development of CFIDS in about 400
No direct link has been made between mono and CFS. But many
people with CFIDS report an attack of mono or another infectious condition prior
to the onset of their illness.
Renee Taylor, PhD, of the University of Illinois-Chicago, says
the study will give her and other researchers a rare chance to study CFIDS cases
before they even start. "We can look at patients before they develop CFIDS, at
the stage where they’ve just developed an infection, and then follow them over a
two-year period to determine what characteristics of these mono patients…may
lead to the development of post-infectious CFIDS," Taylor said.