Ben Z. Katz, M.D., of Northwestern University has just published results from a study of teens who were followed for two years after the onset of acute infection with Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis). The article is published in the July 2009 issue of Pediatrics. Criteria for CFS were met by 13 percent of adolescents at 6 months after acute infection. Seven percent remained ill at 12 months, and 4 percent met CFS criteria at 24 months. With time, most adolescents recovered. Only 2 adolescents with CFS at 24 months seemed to have recovered or had an explanation for CFS at 12 months, but then were reclassified as having CFS at 24 months.
A biomarker is an indicator of a biologic state used to objectively measure processes in the body that occur during health, disease or in response to treatment. Researchers studying CFS have been looking for blood biomarkers so that diagnosis of CFS would not have to rely on self-reported symptoms like fatigue, pain and unrefreshing sleep that are difficult to measure by objective means. Finding a consistent and reproducible blood biomarker that could be turned into a clinical test would be a huge leap forward for care and credibility.
Several published studies highlight the negative effects of exertion on CFS patients. Learning to pace activity is a key strategy to reduce the push-crash cycle of overactivity and relapse. It may also help reduce spikes of certain chemicals in the body that provoke symptoms. Bruce Campbell, PhD, shares ways to identify and maximize the energy you have.
Congress takes its annual recess in August and many U.S. Senators and Representatives will spend time being more visible in their home communities this month. With health care reform, the economy and military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq on constituents’ minds, they will be hosting town hall meetings, listening sessions and other forums to gage public opinion. Here are some pointers about ways you can identify and use these opportunities to bring CFS to lawmakers’ attention.