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A New Hope For Those Battling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By Mea | @MeaByTheSea | CLC Science Contributor | May 9, 2019

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) affects many people battling a chronic illness. Until now, there has not been a blood test (or marker) that can clinically diagnose this debilitating condition. An estimated 2 million+ people in the United States suffer from CFS.


When a patient presents with symptoms of CFS, most doctors run a panel of tests raining from kidney and heart functions to immune cell counts. For patients with CFS, all of those test results are likely to come back normal. This can lead to doctors questioning a patient and the validity of their symptoms, which adds more pressure and stress to the already suffering individual.


Now, there is a hope for a blood test that can accurately diagnose CFS. A study lead by Dr. Rahim Esfandyarpour, tested 20 people with CFS and another 20 without it. The test was incredibly successful, with all patients with CFS showing a marker in their blood for the condition.

Not only does this test give hope to diagnoses of CFS, but also to treatment. It is possible that researchers could expose the blood of patients who tested positive for CFS to different drugs and study the response, hopefully finding a medication that can help CFS patients.


The blood test for CFS works like this: blood and immune cells are put under stress by having salt added to the sample. The cells are the put in a specialized chamber and an electric current is run through it. How the cells interfere with the current is measured. The bigger the effect on the current, the more stress the cell is under. This creates a big spike in the measurements of the electric field. All samples from CFS patients caused a spike like this. Researchers do not know why cells under more stress affect the current this way but this is the first proof that CFS patients’ bodies function differently.


Now the study aims to recruit more CFS patients in attempts to repeat their experiment and findings.


If you are interested in participating in the study, please contact Anna Okumuaokumu@stanford.edu


Another aim of this study is also to test various drugs and how well they work on blood samples of patients with CFS. It has already found at least one drug that appeared to restore function to cells from patients’ samples. Though the drug’s current use is not for treating CFS, this study could lead to multiple new drugs being approved to treat CFS.






Sources:


ARMITAGE, H. (2019, April 29). Biomarker for chronic fatigue syndrome identified. Retrieved May 8, 2019, from http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2019/04/biomarker-for-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-identified.html



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