A group of researchers on Friday said that they have spotted biomarkers in the patients suffering from chronic fatigue, revealing more about their immune systems, which differ from their healthy counterparts.
According to the researchers, chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious health condition with several distinct stages that can be differentiated via biomarkers present in the blood.
The new findings have offered new hope in the earlier diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome and an improved treatment procedure.
The researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health of the Columbia University said that their study results represent “the first robust physical evidence about the syndrome that it is a biological illness and not a psychological disorder. This is the first evidence that the disease has distinct stages.”
The chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), has long baffled the medical experts and scientists, thanks to its no known cause or cure.
Lead study author Mady Hornig, an associate professor of epidemiology at Mailman School, said, “We now have evidence confirming what millions of people with this disease already know, that ME/CFS isn’t psychological. Our findings should accelerate the process of establishing the diagnosis after individuals first fall ill as well as discovery of new treatment strategies focusing on these early blood markers.”
Some of the common symptoms of the health condition include headaches, extreme tiredness, muscle pain and difficult concentration.
For the study, the researchers examined several levels of 51 immune biomarkers in the samples of blood plasma collected from the participating 298 patients and 348 healthy controls.
Following analysis, researchers spotted specific patterns in patients suffering from the health condition three years or less. However, these particular patterns were not visible among those participating patients who had the disease for over three years or those in the healthy controls.
But the participants who had been ill for less than three years showed higher levels of immune molecules, known as cytokines.
“The relation was unusually strong with a cytokine known as interferon gamma that has been associated with the fatigue that follows many viral infections, including Epstein-Barr virus,” said the study researchers.
Hornig said that the study showed “the patients with ME/CFS are flushed with cytokines until around the three-year mark, at which point the immune system start showing the evidence of exhaustion and decline in cytokine levels.”
The findings were published in the journal Science Advances.