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Strongest Evidence Yet Links Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And An Overactive Immune System

An overly-enthusiastic immune system may be the elusive kick that ignites chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Researchers at King's College London have now found the strongest evidence to date that when a particularly sensitive immune system is confronted, it can cause long-lasting fatigue that persists after the infection is taken care of. "For the first time, we have shown that people who are prone to develop a CFS-like disease have an overactive immune system, both before and during a challenge to the immune system," says Alice Russell, a psychiatrist who researches CFS at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. CFS, sometimes called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a mysterious illness that seems to be defying in spite of its debilitating reality. Primarily marked by unrelenting fatigue, this chronic condition can sometimes become so severe that patients can do little other than sleep, let alone get out of bed. Yet even though it is thought to affect up to 1 7 million people worldwide, CFS remains relatively under-studied and tragically misunderstood. Today, we still can not diagnose it properly, let alone treat or cure it, and despite robust evidence, some remain convinced that it's completely psychological. Thankfully, in the last few years, things have started to turn around, and as Research has begun to blossom, the immune system has emerged as a key culprit of CFS. Maar terwijl meerdere studies hebben gevonden incriminerende bewijzen, de exacte rol die het immuunsysteem speelt in CFS blijft elusive. Recruiting 55 patients with the most recent…

An overly-enthusiastic immune system may be the elusive kick that ignites chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Researchers at King’s College London have now found the strongest evidence to date that when a particularly sensitive immune system is confronted, it can cause long-lasting fatigue that persists after the infection is taken care of.

“For the first time, we have shown that people who are prone to develop a CFS-like disease have an overactive immune system, both before and during a challenge to the immune system,” says Alice Russell, a psychiatrist who researches CFS at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience.

CFS, sometimes called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a mysterious illness that seems to be defying in spite of its debilitating reality. Primarily marked by unrelenting fatigue, this chronic condition can sometimes become so severe that patients can do little other than sleep, let alone get out of bed.

Yet even though it is thought to affect up to 1

7 million people worldwide, CFS remains relatively under-studied and tragically misunderstood. Today, we still can not diagnose it properly, let alone treat or cure it, and despite robust evidence, some remain convinced that it’s completely psychological.

Thankfully, in the last few years, things have started to turn around, and as Research has begun to blossom, the immune system has emerged as a key culprit of CFS.

Maar terwijl meerdere studies hebben gevonden incriminerende bewijzen, de exacte rol die het immuunsysteem speelt in CFS blijft elusive.

Recruiting 55 patients with the most recent clinical findings on this subject to date.

Recruiting 55 patients with the most common symptoms.

Recruiting 55 patients with Chronic Hepatitis C (HCV), participants were treated with a drug called Interferon alpha. This is a common treatment for HCV that can cause the same response from the immune system as a powerful infection – basically, sending it into overdrive.

It’s also known to cause acute fatigue, similar to CFS, and for some,

Before treatment, the researchers identified 18 individuals who did not recover normally and instead developed lasting fatigue.

Before treatment, Disse patienter havde de samme niveauer af træthed som alle andre, men en gang behandlingen startede, deres træthed blev fundet at være mere alvorlige, persisterende for måneder efter.

An overactive immune system is likely to blame. In alle 18 van deze patiënten vonden de onderzoekers een veel grotere immuunrespons zowel voor en tijdens de behandeling.

De bevindingen suggereren dat sommige immuunsystemen meer ‘primed’ zijn om overdreven responsen op infecties te geven, en dit op zijn beurt, can cause lasting fatigue.

But strangely enough, six months after treatment, this inflated immune response had all but disappeared – even though some patients were still suffering from persistent fatigue.

When they turned their attention to the fatigued patients, Forskerne noticed something oddly similar: there was no obvious difference in the immune systems of 54 CFS patients compared to 57 healthy individuals.

It seems that by the time CFS-like illnesses develop, there are no longer any detectable differences that remain in the immune system.

This could be one of the reasons why CFS is so hard to catch and diagnose in its early stages.

“I konklusioner, resultater fra denne undersøgelsen støtter den hypotese at abnormale immune mekanismer er viktige i CFS, men bare tidlig i løpet av de illness, around the time of the trigger, rather than when the syndrome is established, “the authors conclude.

“Additionally, our study confirms the importance of the acute fatigue response to the trigger, rather than the recovery period prior to the disease.”

The findings are only based on a model of CFS, so more direct research will Behovskrav, men de forfattere håper at deres resultater vil være en startende vei for bedre diagnose i fremtiden.

“En bedre forståelse av biologien underliggende udviklingen av CFS er nødvendig for at hjælpe patienter med denne debiliterende tilstand,” siger co-author Carmine Pariante, an expert in biological psychiatry at King’s College.

“Although screening tests are a long way off, our results are the first step in identifying those at risk and catching the disease in its crucial early stages.”

This study has been published in Psychoneuroendocrinology .

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