Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: examining the impact of infections.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or CFS, is a long-term illness that is characterised by extreme tiredness in addition to a host of other discomforts. Researchers have struggled to find an identifiable origin to this debilitating disease and as a result, it has proven difficult to treat.
Understanding the root cause of CFS for each patient is not simple, this is in part due to the difficulty in diagnosis as the symptoms which make up CFS can sometimes be attributed to depression, anxiety, insomnia or other conditions with which these symptoms overlap. This has caused debate over CFS and a tendency to attribute these symptoms to a psychological cause as opposed to a biological cause. However, a new investigational blood test has so far demonstrated 100% accuracy in distinguishing individuals with CFS and there is now a consensus among research scientists that CFS is a reflection of an underlying immune response, probably a reaction towards infections.
A few years ago, a report published by the American National Academy of Medicine reinforced that idea of infections triggering symptoms of CFS. The evidence presented in the report matched with an earlier hypothesis paper by Michael VanElzakker. In this paper, VanElzakker theorised that CFS may arise from infection of the vagus nerve, a significant insight that helps us progress towards finding effective treatment of the disease.
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