Difficult to diagnose, with no known cause (and/or multiple causes), and no known cure, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME) plagues over 1,000,000 people in the US. Here are some of the latest findings about this syndrome:

1. About 1.3 million people in the US have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). It’s 4 times more prevalent than MS and 8 times more prevalent than lupus. [Source: Barry Hurwitz, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Biomedical Engineering, University of Miami, http://www.chronicfatiguesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/id/4954 ]

2. About 85-90% of people who have chronic fatigue are undiagnosed. [Ibid]

3. It is difficult to diagnose, mostly involving ruling out other causes and there is no known cure. [Ibid]

4. Dr. Hurwitz believe there is clearly a physical basis to the disease. “We discovered that people who have CFS have decreased volume of red blood cells,” he says. He is experimenting with treating the syndrome with a drug called Procrit to see if it will increase the number of red blood cells.

5. The immune system is involved, becoming activated as if fighting some infection which doesn’t exist. “It turns out,” says Hurwitz, “there is an immune system hormone or substance that’s released that actually causes the red blood cell volume to be depressed. That is, it stops the bone marrow from producing red blood cells.” He is examining this link.

6. Another recent study done by Basant Puri, a neuro-psychiatrist at Hammersmith Hospital in London, found sufferers were low in a group of essential fatty acids known as EPAs. Said Puri, “It was these natural gaps that we found to be enlarged in people with CFS. We have found what appears to be a cause for CFS but we don’t know why people get it.” In response, Chris Clark, chief executive of Action for ME said, “All the evidence so far suggests that there is no single cause.” [Source: Times Newspaper, Ltd., http://www.chronicfatiguesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/ID/5264 ]

7. According to yet another study, this one led by Karen B. Schmaling, University of Texas in El Paso, and reported in January 2004, “good mental health” can alleviate symptoms. One of those studies with results I find open to interpretation, it was found that the following things gave a better prognosis for relief: not blaming the symptoms on some virus or illness, believing the condition was due to a non-physical or emotional problem (such as stress), and not taking sedatives. Also those who were able to adapt to not being able to do things they loved to do, were more likely to avoid depression.

8. Schmaling’s research also determined that those who fared worst were unemployed, elderly and depressed.

9. The University of Michigan Health System recommends regular aerobic exercise for alleviating symptoms. It can provide pain management and enhanced mood state, improved physical fitness and overall improved quality of life, reduced fatigue, increased vigor, and reduction in risk factor status for lifestyle diseases. [Source: The University of Michigan Health System http://www.chronicfatiguesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/ID/5280 ]

10. According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, while most patients never fully recover, most improve over time.

Author's Bio: 

(c)Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc.

I offer coaching, distance learning courses, and ebooksaround emotional intelligence for wellness, career,relationships, resilience, and personal and professionaldevelopment. I train and certify EQ coaches. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for free ezine. For daily EQtips, send blank email to EQ4U-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.