Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Microbiome
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is a condition which is characterized by the onset of severe fatigue, usually between the ages of 20-40. It is often associated with other traits such as impaired memory or concentration, myalgia, arthralgia, headaches and sleep disorders. The cause of CFS is unknown, but viral infection, bacterial infection, genetic disorders and psychological disorders have all been suggested.
A recent study from Colombia University may elucidate the cause of CFS. Noting that about 90% of CFS patients also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), these researchers postulated that the gut microbiome may be involved. By analyzing fecal samples they discovered that specific intestinal bacterial species were associated with CFS and that the abundance of these species correlated with disease severity. Surprisingly, using an immune profiling immunoassay to monitory 61 different bloodstream immune markers, they did not find significant correlations between CFS and control patients. This may suggest that all of the CFS patients were chronic. The identification of bacteria involved in CFS allows the ability to sub-type patients based on fecal microbiome and to identify bacterial targets for therapeutics.
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