Sunday, January 25, 2009

Research Paper Announces Test for CFS

I saw a very interesting new paper published recently in the UK, defining CFS as a mitochondrial dysfunction and identifying a test doctors can use to help diagnose it. Personally, this seems to be a bit of an over-simplification to me, not addressing the immune system and nervous system dysfunction, but it's still a huge step forward in viewing CFS as a real, physical ailment with characteristics that can be tested.

My favorite line in the explanation of the study:

"A useful analogy is to compare your body with your car. The mitochondria represent the engine of that car, the diet represents the fuel that goes in the tank, the thyroid gland represents the accelerator pedal and the adrenal gland the gearbox of that car. Using cognitive behaviour therapy or graded exercise to treat a patient with CFS/ME is akin to beating up the driver of the car when actually the car needs a re- conditioned engine, suitable fuel in the tank, resetting of the accelerator pedal, a new gear box or whatever."


me/cfs warrior said...

I saw this study also. I was initially hopeful about it but realized it is too narrowly focused.

I think that's a great quote.

I hope things are going well for you.


Lori P said...

Thanks for the article Sue. It's encouraging that there has been progress in validating this disease.

Shelli said...

I love the analogy! Thanks for sharing this information. It makes sense. I have to admit, though, I love graded exercise -- not as a treatment, but as a plan to help me include exercise in my life. I hated giving up the benefits of exercise, and now I feel I'm adding it back bit by bit.

Sue Jackson said...

Shelli -

That's wonderful that you're still able to exercise at your own pace, and you're right, it is good for you. Unfortunately, many people with CFS have such severe exercise intolerance that even mild exercise sends them into a crash. There's a trend in the UK to prescribe exercise for CFS - which is just plain crazy!

It's great that you've found a level of exercise you can tolerate. I'm working on that myself!