Evaluating routine blood tests according to clinical symptoms and diagnostic criteria in individuals with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis /Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, by Ingrid H. Baklund, Toril Dammen, Torbjorn Age Moum, Wenche Kristiansen, Daysi Sosa Duarte, Jesus Castro-Marrero, Ingrid Bergliot Helland, Elin Bolle Strand in Journal of Clinical Medicine Vol 10, #14, p 3105, July 14, 2021


Research abstract:

There is a lack of research regarding blood tests within individuals with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and between patients and healthy controls. We aimed to compare results of routine blood tests between patients and healthy controls.

Data from 149 patients diagnosed with ME/CFS based on clinical and psychiatric evaluation as well as on the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire, and data from 264 healthy controls recruited from blood donors were compared.

One-way ANCOVA was conducted to examine differences between ME/CFS patients and healthy controls, adjusting for age and gender.

Patients had higher sedimentation rate (mean difference: 1.38, 95% CI: 0.045 to 2.714), leukocytes (mean difference: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.248 to 0.932), lymphocytes (mean difference: 0.27, 95% CI: 0.145 to 0.395), neutrophils (mean difference: 0.34, 95% CI: 0.0 89 to 0.591), monocytes (mean difference: 0.34, 95% CI: 0.309 to 0.371), ferritin (mean difference: 28.13, 95% CI: -1.41 to 57.672), vitamin B12 (mean difference: 83.43, 95% CI: 62.89 to 124.211), calcium (mean difference: 0.02, 95% CI: -0.02 to 0.06), alanine transaminase (mean difference: 3.30, 95% CI: -1.37 to -7.971), low-density lipoproteins (mean difference: 0.45, 95% CI: 0.104 to 0.796), and total proteins (mean difference: 1.53, 95% CI: -0.945 to 4.005) than control subjects.

The patients had lower potassium levels (mean difference: 0.11, 95% CI: 0.056 to 0.164), creatinine (mean difference: 2.60, 95% CI: 0.126 to 5.074) and creatine kinase (CK) (mean difference: 37.57, 95% CI: -0.282 to 75.422) compared to the healthy controls.

Lower CK and creatinine levels may suggest muscle damage and metabolic abnormalities in ME/CFS patients.


Results of several routine blood tests of ME/CFS patients differed from those healthy controls. Our findings particularly highlight that decreased creatinine and CK levels may indicate greater muscle damage and metabolic disturbances in ME/CFS patients and is worthy of future studies. This is also true of results that may indicate a possible low-grade inflammation in ME/CFS patients.

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