"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Brain dysfunction may be the reason for chronic fatigue syndrome

February 22, 2024 – So far, research right into a debilitating condition that has turn out to be more common throughout the pandemic has given patients and the doctors who treat them little hope that patients would eventually give you the chance to return to normal each day activities.

That's because scientists didn't know much in regards to the reason for the disease, called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). It affects multiple body systems, with the characteristic symptom being extreme fatigue, leaving many individuals bedridden. There is little understanding of what causes ME/CFS and no treatment options.

Now a multimillion-dollar government study has revealed several essential findings about ME/CFS. The scientific results were published on Wednesday Nature communication.

A key recent finding was that individuals within the study had low activity in a brain region called the temporal-parietal junction, “which can lead to fatigue by disrupting the way the brain decides how to exert itself.” , based on a study from the National Institutes of Health Summary on crucial findings of the study.

Researchers also found that participants within the study had changes within the spinal fluid which will have affected their ability to maneuver. And the abnormal spinal fluid may explain changes in mental abilities and the body's response to exertion.

One of essentially the most difficult points of ME/CFS is that fatigue worsens after exercise. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about one in 100 adults within the U.S. suffers from ME/CFS National Center for Health Statisticsbased on responses to a 2021 and 2022 national survey. The likelihood of being diagnosed with ME/CFS increases with age but reaches a plateau between ages 60 and 69. Fewer and fewer individuals are newly diagnosed with the disease after reaching the age of 70.

A new analysis An estimate released last week by the CDC suggests that individuals who've had COVID-19 are 4 times more prone to suffer from chronic fatigue than individuals who haven't had COVID. Scientists had previously found that ME/CFS is most frequently diagnosed after an individual has an infection that the body has difficulty overcoming and as an alternative continues its immune response.

This recent investigation into ME/CFS was an unlimited project. More than 70 authors are listed on the 70 pages Nature communication manuscript, and the study spanned 8 years and price greater than $8 million, STAT News reported.

“People with ME/CFS have very real and disabling symptoms, but uncovering their biological basis has been extremely difficult,” Walter Koroshetz, MD, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), said in a press release opinion. “This in-depth study of a small group of people revealed a number of factors that likely contribute to their ME/CFS. Now researchers can test whether these findings apply to a larger group of patients and identify treatments that target the core causes of the disease.”

Another essential finding may lead to a greater understanding of why women usually tend to be diagnosed with ME/CFS than men. The researchers found that there have been gender differences in immune systems and inflammatory patterns amongst study participants.

“Men and women were quite different in their data, and this shows that ME/CFS is not a uniform phenomenon,” said lead study creator Avindra Nath, MD, clinical director at NINDS, in a press release. “Given the immune differences between men and women in ME/CFS, the findings could open new research avenues that could provide insights into other infection-associated chronic diseases.”

The study was very small and included 17 individuals with ME/CFS who had been in poor health for lower than 5 years and 21 healthy individuals who served as a comparison group. Another essential finding was that the brains of individuals with ME/CFS remained unusually lively in the world that controls movement. The unusual brain activity within the motor cortex occurred during tiring tasks, but was not accompanied by muscle fatigue in other parts of the body. The mismatch suggests brain dysfunction.

“We may have identified a physiological focus for fatigue in this population,” said researcher Brian Walitt, MD, MPH, an associate research physician at NINDS, in a press release. “Rather than physical exhaustion or a lack of motivation, fatigue can arise from a mismatch between what someone believes they can achieve and what their body is capable of.”