Researchers Claim Proof Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is A Bodily Disease – Expert Reaction

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From Science Media Centre.

Researchers claim they have “unequivocally proved” that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not a psychosomatic disease.

One of their studies finds mitochondria – known as the “powerhouse of the cell” – are dysfunctional in patients with the syndrome. A second study finds epigenetic similarities among sufferers.

The SMC asked experts to comment on the research. 

Associate Professor Tony Hickey, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, comments:

“This work provides solace for sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and possibly a tangible explanation that it is not a psychosomatic disorder. The researchers link CFS to fundamental metabolic pathways within mitochondria. Mitochondria provide the bulk of a cell’s power output, as they most efficiently transfer energy within food to the cellular machines in our bodies. Yet if they fail they can release free radicals that decide a cell’s fate and trigger death pathways.

“While mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated in many diseases, many accompanied by depressive states, these workers have yet to determine if CFS results from a mitochondrial defect, or whether mitochondria are victims of the CFS disease. Mitochondria were explored within PBMCs, which are a complex mixture of white blood cells within our blood borne immune systems. These present a useful model, because as PBMCs pass through the body they experience the conditions of the body, and so they may mirror the body’s net mitochondrial response to diseases. While recent evidence suggests that mitochondria can be exchanged among different cell types, not all mitochondria are the same (e.g. cardiac cell mitochondria differ vastly from those in the brain or liver). Therefore, do PBMC mitochondria reflect mitochondria of other cells?

 

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