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Center for Disease Control on chronic fatigue syndrome,

01 May

We found this report in Karen Richards’ Fibromyalgia Newsletter .

Scientists have discovered that people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have certain genes and gene activities that reduce their body’s ability to deal with physical and psychological stress.

"It really is the first credible evidence of a biological basis for chronic fatigue syndrome," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) at a press briefing held to announce the results of the largest-ever clinical trial focusing on chronic fatigue syndrome. The research has been published in a set of 14 articles appearing in the April, 2006 issue of the scientific journal Pharmacogenomics.

The $2 million research project examined 227 people with CFS in Wichita, Kan. Volunteers spent two full days in the hospital undergoing detailed clinical evaluations which included: sleep studies, cognitive functioning measurements, autonomic nervous system evaluations, extensive blood work and genetic testing. The activity levels of 20,000 genes were assessed.

Once the data was gathered, it was turned over to multidisciplinary teams of experts in medicine, molecular biology, epidemiology, genomics, mathematics, engineering and physics to be analyzed and interpreted. Dr. William C. Reeves, principal CFS investigator at the CDC, described the results as "groundbreaking."

At the press briefing, Dr. Reeves stated, "For the first time ever, we have documented that people with CFS have certain genes that are related to those parts of brain activity that mediate the stress response. And that they have different gene activity levels ..that are related to their body’s ability to adapt to challenges and stresses that occur throughout life, such as infections, injury, trauma or various adverse events."

Dr. Suzanne Vernon, who oversaw the project along with Dr. Reeves, added, "I think what we’ve been able to show is that CFS is very heterogeneous, it’s not just one thing, so there’s probably not just one diagnostic marker. We’ve actually demonstrated that there are probably at least four or five molecular profiles or groups of people that make up this complex of CFS."

This study should put to rest any lingering doubts about the validity of CFS. It is a very real illness with an identifiable biologic basis. Besides confirming its validity, Reeves and Vernon agree that having a biologic basis for CFS will also help scientists and researchers identify better ways to diagnose the illness and develop more effective treatments.

Source: Center for Disease Control, Press Briefing on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 4/20/06 (the link is _ )

Citation: Source: Center for Disease Control, Press Briefing on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 4/20/06 _
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award