Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can be very difficult to diagnose. Now researchers developed a blood test that could identify the ones suffering.
What is Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?
The following symptoms might indicate a chronic fatigue syndrome:
• Severe Fatigue / feeling extremely tired
• Usually the onset is very sudden
• Sometimes the onset of fatigue is associated with an infection
• The fatigue can be so severe that patients are not able to function properly in work and private life.
• Physical activity exacerbates the fatigue
• Trouble sleeping
• Cognitive impairment (not able to think clearly)
• Dizziness, Giddiness
Why is CFS difficult to diagnose?
So far there was no single test to confirm a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. Moreover, the symptoms are very vague and can mimic many other health problems. This leads to the shocking truth that only 20% of sufferers are diagnosed correctly.
New test – New hope?
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found a set of molecules that differed between the people with CFS and the people without CFS. With this unique set the researchers were able to identify sufferers correctly in more than 90%.
These molecules are a part of the human metabolic system. The lower levels of these molecules in CFS suggests that people with CFS had a lower rate of metabolism. This phenomena is known in other species such as hibernating bears.
“The finding of an objective chemical signature in CFS helps to remove diagnostic uncertainty [and] will help clinicians monitor individualized responses to treatment,” according to the authors of the study.
However, future research is needed to verify the findings.