Home / Healthcare/ Study finds chronic fatigue clues in overactive immune response

Study finds chronic fatigue clues in overactive immune response


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 20 December 2018 00:00

Facebook

LONDON (Reuters): Scientists exploring what may trigger a complex disorder known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have found clues in the way some people’s immune systems respond more actively to a health attack.

A severe illness characterised by long-term physical and mental fatigue, CFS is thought to affect up to 17 million people worldwide and around 250,000 people in Britain.

Sufferers are often bed-bound and unable to carry out basic daily activities like washing and feeding themselves.

The researchers used a drug known as interferon alpha to create a model of the syndrome and found that patients whose immune response to treatment was hyperactive or exaggerated were more likely to then develop severe fatigue.

“For the first time, we have shown that people who are prone to develop a CFS-like illness have an overactive immune system, both before and during a challenge to the immune system,” said Alice Russell of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), who led the work.

The condition, as well as research into it, is highly contentious, in part because its possible causes and range of debilitating symptoms are poorly understood.

Interferon alpha is used as a treatment for hepatitis C infection, and activates the immune system in the same way as a powerful infection.

Many patients who receive interferon alpha experience extreme fatigue during treatment, and some continue to feel chronic fatigue for many months after the drug course is completed.

Russell’s team used this knowledge and measured fatigue and immune system markers in 55 patients before, during and after treatment with interferon alpha.

They found that the 18 of those 55 who went on to develop a CFS-like illness had a hyperactive immune system before treatment, and a highly overactive response during treatment.

“(This suggests) people who have an exaggerated immune response to a trigger may be more at risk of developing CFS,” Russell told reporters at a briefing about the findings.

IoPPN professor Carmine Pariante stressed that while the study’s main finding is a useful addition to scant scientific knowledge about CFS – also known as myalgic encephalopathy (ME) – it offers few clues on how to treat, cure or prevent it.

“It’s a light in the fog,” he told reporters.

“But a better understanding of the biology underlying the development of CFS is needed to help patients.”

 


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Those who go by social proof are easy prey to crafty schemers

Monday, 17 June 2019

Going after social proof Swiss writer and novelist, Rolf Dobelli, in one of the essays in his 2013 book ‘The Art of Thinking Clearly’, has given a fine warning to his readers. He has warned against going by ‘social proof’ or ‘majority view


Poson ponderings on positional power: ‘Authority vested’ vs. ‘authority wasted’

Monday, 17 June 2019

We witnessed a serene Poson Poya, in a far more improved security setting in Sri Lanka. Whilst the Sri Lankan life slowly returning to normal, political fronts do not appear to show the same. Has the political power become the people ‘pava’ (sin)


Emperors without clothes: Is Mother Lanka naked too?

Monday, 17 June 2019

The expression ‘The Emperor without clothes’ derives from the Hans Anderson tale that is based on Sufi wisdom. The Emperor in Anderson’s story was without doubt, the finest dressed man in the land and he loved wearing fine clothes and spent al


The confusion of the collision is becoming indescribable!

Monday, 17 June 2019

Strange are the things we are witnessing in the political scene. The fast-evaporating trust and confidence in politicians and the Government are seriously destroying the harmony of the nation. The Prime Minister of the country has admitted that the


Columnists More