Current research provides insight into the biological basis and diagnostic potential for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), by Eiren Sweetman, Alex Noble, Christina Edgar, Angus Mackay, Amber Helliwell, Rosamund Vallings, Margaret Ryan and Warren Tate in Diagnostics 2019, 9(3), 73; [https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics9030073]
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a severe fatigue illness that occurs most commonly following a viral infection, but other physiological triggers are also implicated. It has a profound long-term impact on the life of the affected person.
ME/CFS is diagnosed primarily by the exclusion of other fatigue illnesses, but the availability of multiple case definitions for ME/CFS has complicated diagnosis for clinicians. There has been ongoing controversy over the nature of ME/CFS, but a recent detailed report from the Institute of Medicine (Academy of Sciences, USA) concluded that ME/CFS is a medical, not psychiatric illness.
Importantly, aspects of the biological basis of the ongoing disease have been revealed over the last 2-3 years that promise new leads towards an effective clinical diagnostic test that may have a general application.
Our detailed molecular studies with a preclinical study of ME/CFS patients, along with the complementary research of others, have reported an elevation of inflammatory and immune processes, ongoing neuro-inflammation, and decreases in general metabolism and mitochondrial function for energy production in ME/CFS, which contribute to the ongoing remitting/relapsing etiology of the illness.
These biological changes have generated potential molecular biomarkers for use in diagnostic ME/CFS testing.