Doctors Find New Way to Diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Researchers found that certain genes react to fatigue differently.

A study at the University of Utah has led Doctors Alan and Kathleen Light to find a definite way to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. The researchers used a relatively new gene expression technology that is already patented at the university. The simple test was used to explain why some people in the study had chronic fatigue. The findings of this study pointed to the fact that certain genes react to physical exertion differently in those with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.

Fatigue is the body's way of conserving energy.

Dr. Alan Light has been studying and researching fatigue for decades and recently teamed up with his wife, Kathleen Light who has been studying fibromyalgia and pain for some time. After working together for 10 years, the couple led the study that was part of a National Institutes of Health study with 140 patients who had chronic fatigue syndrome. They are currently working on designing gene expression technology that can be used by doctors around the world to identify the gene in patients who already suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. Doctors could then confirm that patients definitely have a true medical disorder that is often doubted by many, or that is thought to be psychological.

Another hope for the future is that the new technology will be able to identify the gene responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia before it strikes. The diagnostic tool would help over one million people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome by identifying the gene that shows why they have a different response to fatigue. Many patients with this disorder are unable to hold jobs, attend school, or even take care of their daily needs because extreme fatigue overwhelms and incapacitates them. It is common for sufferers to have difficulty getting disability payments because the disease is difficult to prove.

Fatigue response was shown to be different in those with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.

Once the technology to identify the gene that is responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia is readily available, it will be possible to test patients before these diseases develop, as well as to identify and treat the disorders if they are already present. This diagnostic tool would enable doctors to treat the disease appropriately once it did appear when they knew that the patient had the gene for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. Dr. Kathleen Light said that her discovery with her husband "could lead to better treatment and potentially a cure." She added that it could also help patients document their disabilities.

Source: Deseret News,


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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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