New Test Detects Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
When a person tends to sleep more than the average number of hours or is not that active in his everyday life, people habitually call him or her lazy. What they do not know is that this particular person may be suffering by one of the most mysterious medical conditions that science is still trying to decode, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Its source has not yet been identified even though, throughout the years, more than a few theories have been proposed. Experts have tried locating its cause in genetic, psychological and biological factors but none of them has given us a definite answer so far. Fortunately for patients and also scientists who have been trying to figure out the mechanisms of the disease, a notable step forward has been taken.
A team of researchers from the Cornell University managed to develop a method to diagnose CFS with remarkable accuracy. The study included 87 patients, 48 of which had CFS while the remaining 39 were healthy. The test achieved an accuracy of 83% in predicting which one was suffering from the condition.
The mechanism of action is complicated but in order to make it easy to understand to the greatest possible number of people (ourselves included), we are going to explain it in the simplest way we can.
The test uses what scientists call "biological markers” or “biomarkers” which are specific chemical substances that, if traced, offer hints that a certain medical condition is present in the body. In our case, the biomarkers used are lipopolysaccharides and C-reactive proteins.
This is far from any substantial hope for a treatment but it can offer extremely valuable information to medical scientists, and once the diagnosis procedure has been improved, it will definitely help deal with CFS more effectively.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, even though it is not fatal, should be considered a very serious medical condition since it can decrease the patient’s quality of life severely. It has both physical and psychological negative consequences since not being able to participate in an activity due to the overwhelming feeling of tiredness - also knowing that, for the time being, there is no treatment - can bring the patient to a bad emotional state. But we must not lose hope. Little steps like the one described will keep bringing us closer to our goal, which is the defeating yet another harmful disease.