Great news for those feeling constantly tired and in need of an answer: a new study found clear biological signs for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
With 17 million people worldwide suffering from chronic fatigue, a condition that up until now has been considered merely psychological or even imagined by that certain person, the new study led by Dr. Mady Hornig, director of translational research at the Center for Infection and Immunity and associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School, sheds new light on this condition and its biological implications. The findings were published in the Science Advances journal.
The study found that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has a physical expression which is the alteration in immune system activity. This is actually the first determinable sign that can point to the presence of Chronic Fatigue.
The team noticed that in comparison to healthy people, patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have a higher level of cytokines in their blood. Cytokines are proteins responsible for inflammatory responses. This shows that, indeed, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has not only a psychical component but also a biological one.
Horning explained that in the case of Fatigue patients:
“Their immune system is no longer resilient and able to bounce back after this cytokine surge [in response to infection]. We need the system to be regulated, so it shuts off after the disease is gone, and that isn’t happening here.”
This discovery gives doctors the possibility to detect the condition early on, by testing the cytokine levels. This results in early treatment and the prevention of a progressing state of ill health. This new finding will also contribute to the diminishing opinion that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is merely “a matter of the mind”. Many patents hide their symptoms in order to avoid being told that it’s all in their head.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can cause powerful physical and mental fatigue, accompanied by pain in the limb area. People suffering from this condition can also experience memory loss, a decrease in concentration and digestive issues. The illness can evolve to such a degree that it some people become unable to do everyday chores and even become wheelchair-bound.