Date PostedMay 16, 2014

New Medical Technology offers Clues in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in particular seems to be becoming a more serious issue especially as modern society demands we work longer and longer hours and survive on less and less sleep and rest. Add to that the bad lifestyle choices made by many people these days such as unhealthy eating choices and a lack of exercise and chronic fatigue syndrome has become more of a problem than ever.

Now developments in Japan may provide more insight into chronic fatigue syndrome using a new brain scan investigation. Interestingly the brain scan investigation has proven the link between nerve cell inflammation and the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome, particularly the more serious and debilitating form.

The new findings have come as a result of a PET scan study conducted in Hyogo Japan by Yasuhito Nakatomi from the RIKEN Centre for Life Science Technologies involving 9 patients, each suffering from the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome as well as 10 healthy participants.

Nakatomi and his fellow investigators believe that their findings are the first to show that neuro-inflammation is a distinct feature of chronic fatigue syndrome.

The inflammation identified is thought to impact areas of the brain that are commonly linked with the fatigue, pain, depression and thought-process difficulties linked to the syndrome.

According to media reports the study’ findings still need to be confirmed with larger studies but it appears to be legit. According to one expert, Suzanne Vernon, scientific director of CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) Association of America the results are very exciting, even though she herself had nothing to do with the actual study.

Vernon explained that the study is significant because it is the first time images of this type of brain inflammation have been seen in chronic fatigue syndrome patients which shows just how serious and debilitating this disease really is. Many people tend to ignore the seriousness of this disease, this study proves that its effects are significant and cannot be brushed off.

The findings were first published online in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine and are expected to shed a lot of light on the debates surrounding chronic fatigue syndrome. There are some experts who believe chronic fatigue syndrome may be driven by bacteria, there are others who swear it is inflicted by a virus.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can attack a person suddenly and without warning with signs of muscle and joint pain, exhaustion, insomnia and cognitive problems – this translates into problems functioning normally and performing simple everyday tasks as well as complex working tasks such as driving.
The study conducted by Nakatomi involved the participants filling out questionnaires which required them to indicate the degree to which they were experiencing signs of chronic fatigue syndrome. The researchers then conducted brain imaging, focusing on the key area of the brain including the cingulate cortex, hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, midbrain, and pons. They then weighed the signs of neuro-inflammation against the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. They discovered that nerve cell inflammation was more prominent in patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome while those who didn’t have chronic fatigue syndrome brain’s didn’t show signs of inflammation.

Even more impressive is that the study found a proportional link between the level of inflammation and the severity of the chronic fatigue syndrome. In other words the more inflammation, the more severe the patient’s chronic fatigue.

Nakatomi’s study also found that neuro-inflammation heightened in patterns that directly coincided with chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms, affecting areas of the brain that are vital to central thought processing which is impaired by the disease.

Despite the findings being ground-breaking in terms of establishing the correlation between brain impairment and chronic fatigue syndrome it did not establish a direct cause and effect relationship between brain changes and chronic fatigue syndrome. It also doesn’t confirm whether brain inflammation precedes chronic fatigue syndrome or whether it is as a result of it.

Never the less the study does show that brain scanning may prove pivotal in screening for chronic fatigue syndrome in the future and may help in diagnosing the disease as well as identifying how severe a case may be.

This study is significant to long distance truck drivers who may be suffering from the disease. Chronic fatigue syndrome is not the same as general fatigue because chronic fatigue syndrome is a chronic disease which requires professional help to keep under control whereas general fatigue brought on by lifestyle and work choices (such as those experienced by long distance truck drivers) can be managed and controlled by making the right choices. To learn more about Fatigue Management visit our homepage or to register for the Fatigue Management Course.

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