Damaged Small Nerve Fibers May Be Causing Energy Problems In Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

By Cort Johnson in Health Rising.

David Systrom, the Harvard pulmonologist, is digging ever deeper into his ME/CFS patients. Systrom and his invasive exercise tests have broke open our understanding of what’s going on during exercise. Through Systrom’s work, we now know much more about what’s going on, metabolically, during exercise.

In “Insights From Invasive Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing of Patients With Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome“Systrom and company assessed the records of 160 people retrospectively diagnosed with ME/CFS. This study is the first to assess small fiber neuropathy (SFN) in ME/CFS.

The first major finding was that mean peak V02 – the highest level of oxygen extraction that occurred during the exercise – was significantly lower in ME/CFS. Since energy is mostly a function of oxygen extraction, this indicated the ME/CFS patients were unable to produce as much energy as the healthy controls. Under that broad brush, though, several subsets were about to pop out.

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