Chronic fatigue syndrome: New test in sight

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Scientists have developed a test for chronic fatigue syndrome that detects the reaction of the immune cells and blood plasma to stress. The findings may also help screen effective drugs for the condition.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), is a serious condition that may affect up to 2.5 million people in the United States.

Symptoms include extreme tiredness, difficulty sleeping, trouble with thinking and remembering things, muscle pain and aches, a recurring sore throat, and tender lymph nodes.

Currently, physicians can only diagnose ME/CFS by examining a person’s symptoms and medical history, and by excluding other possible illnesses.

This can make the diagnosis process difficult, lengthy, and inaccurate.

However, the results of a new study may soon change this. Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine in California have discovered a biomarker for ME/CFS and developed a test that could soon diagnose the condition accurately.

The researchers applied the test to the blood samples of 40 people, 20 of whom had ME/CFS and 20 who did not.

Their test accurately identified all of the people with ME/CFS without misidentifying any of the people who did not have the condition.

Also, they wish to apply the test to identify effective drugs for ME/CFS. “Using the nanoelectronics assay,” explains Esfandyarpour, “we can add controlled doses of many different potentially therapeutic drugs to the patient’s blood samples and run the diagnostic test again.”

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