Further proof that chronic fatigue syndrome is linked to viruses

Last year a scientific controversy was unleashed when a group of researchers reported that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome had traces of retrovirus in their bodies. Several follow-up studies found no such correlation between chronic fatigue and retroviruses, which are the same kind of viruses as HIV.


But today the original study received some validation from a group of researchers who also found traces of another kind of virus in chronic fatigue sufferers. According to the New York Times:

Scientists found gene sequences from several MRV-related viruses in blood cells from 32 out of 37 chronic-fatigue patients but only 3 of 44 healthy ones.

The researchers did not find XMRV, the specific retrovirus identified in patients last fall. But by confirming the presence of a cluster of genetically similar viruses, the new study represents a significant advance, experts and advocates say . . . Leonard A. Jason, a professor of psychology at DePaul University and a leading researcher on the syndrome, agreed. "This class of retroviruses is probably going to be an important piece of the puzzle," he said.

This may also bolster the growing movement among people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and self-medicate with HIV drugs. They believe that HIV medications, which combat retroviruses, could also help with the possible retroviruses at the root of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Authors of the new study are particularly concerned because people with chronic fatigue who donate blood may be transmitting the disease to others.

The Times adds:

The findings are sure to raise concerns about the safety of the blood supply. AABB, formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks, recommended in June that people with the illness be discouraged from donating, pending further study.

"The possibility that these agents might be blood-transmitted and pathogenic in blood recipients warrants extensive research investigations," Dr. Alter and his co-authors wrote in the new study.


via New York Times



I hate to say it, because I know CFS is an actual condition that affects lots of people, but whenever I hear about CFS I think about Wayne's World:

"I thought I had mono once for an entire year. It turns out I was just really bored."