April 28, 2008
Study targets chronic fatigue
By Kathi baker
Researchers from Emory School of Medicine and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together on a study they believe will lead to a better understanding of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Symptoms of CFS include debilitating chronic mental and physical exhaustion, difficulty thinking, reasoning and remembering, unrefreshing sleep and various muscle and joint pains. It is often difficult to diagnose CFS because the symptoms can be related to many other illnesses.
“Statistics show that there are between 1 million and 4 million adult Americans who suffer from CFS, including 2.5 percent of adults in Georgia,” says Andrew Miller, Timmie Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “Although scientists have made significant advances in defining CFS, diagnostic tests and effective treatments remain undefined.”
The Emory-CDC study is designed to evaluate mechanisms of the illness with an emphasis on alterations in the regulation of hormones and the immune system, alterations in brain circuits involved in cognitive function and mental fatigue. The molecular and genetic underpinnings of these alterations will also be explored.
“We believe this groundbreaking research will lead us to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of CFS, both from a psychological and biological standpoint,” says Miller. “It will open doors that could lead us to better ways to diagnose and treat CFS in the future.”