Inclusion of family members without ME/CFS in research studies promotes discovery of biomarkers specific for ME/CFS, by  in Work 2020 [DOI: 10.3233/WOR-203177]


Research abstract:


The search for a biomarker specific for ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) has been long, arduous and, to date, unsuccessful. Researchers need to consider their expenditures on each new candidate biomarker. In a previous study of antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) by natural killer lymphocytes, we found lower ADCC for ME/CFS patients vs. unrelated donors but ruled against low ADCC as a biomarker because of similar ADCC for patients vs. their family members without ME/CFS.


We applied inclusion of family members without ME/CFS, from families with multiple CFS patients, as a second non-ME/CFS control group in order to re-examine inflammation in ME/CFS.


Total and CD16A-positive ‘non-classical’ anti-inflammatory monocytes were monitored.


Non-classical monocytes were elevated for patients vs. unrelated healthy donors but these differences were insignificant between patients vs. unaffected family members.


Inclusion of family members ruled against biomarker considerations for the monocytes characterized. These pilot findings for the non-classical monocytes are novel in the field of ME/CFS. We recommend that occupational therapists advocate and explain to family members without ME/CFS the need for the family members’ participation as a second set of controls in pilot studies to rapidly eliminate false biomarkers, optimize patient antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity participation, and save researchers’ labor.

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