New candidate for chronic fatigue
Researchers have fingered a new suspect in their search for the cause of a mysterious, debilitating disorder called chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS).
Elaine DeFreitas and her co-workers at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia used three types of tests with 30 people suffering from CFIDS and found that the majority of the volunteers showed some sign of infection by human T-lymphotropic virus type II (HTLV-II), a suspect in a rare form of leukemia. A separate group of 20 healthy individuals showed no sign of the virus, the team reports in the April 1 PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES.
CFIDS--characterized by extreme fatigue as well as immunologic and neurologic abnormalities -- was once thought to be caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, the agent responsible for infectious mononucleosis.
The new finding, though "very provocative," will require validation, says Stephen E. Straus of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Studies led by Straus in 1988 helped overturn Epstein-Barr as a cause of CFIDS.
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