CFS Research from Japan
Japan has been tackling the issue of fatigue as a national priority with economic implications estimated at $3.5 billion a year for chronic fatigue syndrome alone and $10.2 billion a year for general fatigue. As a result, Japanese research teams led by Hirohito Kiratsune, Yasuyoshi Watanabe and their dedicated colleagues have mounted diverse and intensive studies of CFS. In June 2007, results from 15 of these studies were released in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Medicine Nippon Rinsho. While abstracts are available in English, currently the studies themselves appear only in Japanese.
The group of studies include three overviews of pertinent elements of the illness: an overview of prevalence and diagnostic criteria in Japan; an overview of effective medical treatment and management; and an overview of discrete biochemical abnormalities apparent through specialized blood tests.
Individual studies address viral infections and herpesvirus reactivation, genetic background and marker genes, clinical features, neurotransmitter activity, serum properties and testing, sleep disturbance and evaluation of fatigue. Diagnosis and testing is the focus of several of the studies—particularly results showing that blood tested using Vis-NIR (visible near-infrared) spectroscopy was able to differentiate CFS patients from healthy control subjects. Other diagnostic studies in the series of articles explored potential marker genes, reported on unique antinuclear antibodies and addressed differentiation between CFS and psychiatric disorders.
The group of studies contributes a wealth of information to the CFS scientific community. We’ll keep you posted as more details emerge.