Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)is a medically unexplained ailment characterized by new onset of fatigue accompanied by rheumatologic, infectious, and neuropsychiatric symptoms.
CFS is defined by the US Centers for Disease Control as persistent or relapsing fatigue lasting greater than six months that is unexplained by any other physical disorder.
A federal advisory committee recommended to have CFS change its name to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
The diagnosis of CFS/ME is currently based on clinical criteria of self reported symptoms. There are currently more than 2 million patients living with CFS in the US.
CFS often follows a cyclical course, alternating between periods of illness and relative well-being.
The clinical course of CFS varies considerably among patients and the actual percentages of patients who recover is unknown. Even the definition of what should be considered recovery is subjec to debate.
CFS and/or ME are complex illnesses that have a combination of non-specific symptoms.
Patients must have at least 4 of following:
* memory impairment or concentration loss
* sore throat
* tender lymph nodes
* muscle pain
* multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
* headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
* unrefreshing sleep
* post-exertional malaise lasting > 24 hours
Thirty Years after defining CFS/ME, there is still no treatment, and no known cause.
Some patients recover to the point that they can resume work and other activities, while other patients grow progressively worse.
Based on early research done in the United Kingdom, Enteroviruses are clearly important triggers/causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Enterovirus RNA was found in the blood, and in the muscles of CFS/ME patients by several researchers, although the NIH could not reproduce the same results.
The discrepancy in results led to a shift of the focus in ME/CFS in the mid-1990s.
Dr. John Chia in California follows more than 2,000 CFS/ME patients, and 80-90% of them have recurring gastrointestinal symptoms of varying levels of severity.
Dr. Chia knew that Enteroviruses are acid and bile resistant, and that they reach the stomach first by contaminated food, or swallowed infected respiratory secretions.
In a 2008 study, Dr. Chia reported that 80% of his CFS patients, and 20% of controls had evidence of an Enterovirus infection in their stomach.
Enteroviruses are well known to cause respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, with well documented tropism for the Central Nervous System, Heart, and Muscles. Most CFS patients have pronounced problems with the CNS, Heart, and Muscles.
Dr. Chia started EV Med Research, which is a privately-funded R&D laboratory whose mission is to define the most common pathogens responsible for CFS, and to develop effective treatment strategies.
EV Med tries to define the mechanism of viral persistence in stomach tissue, as well as immune responses. With special techniques, EV Med has reproducibly grown the Enteroviruses from stomach biopsies.
To have stomach tissue tested for the presence of EV protein and RNA, a requisition form must be completed. Please press here.