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Stomach virus linked to chronic fatigue syndrome
Friday, September 14, 2007
CBC News

'Now we can study how these viruses behave and how we can kill them'

A common stomach virus has been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome after it turned up in 80 per cent of patients with the debilitating condition who were involved in one small California study.

"We don't have anything for these poor people, although we've tried a number of things," said one of the study's authors, John Chia, an infectious disease specialist in private practice in Torrance, Calif. "Now we can study how these viruses behave and how we can kill them."

The study was published on the Journal of Clinical Pathology's website Thursday.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may worsen with physical or mental activity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Many people with the condition experience weakness, muscle pain, impaired memory and-or mental concentration, insomnia, and post-exertional fatigue lasting more than 24 hours. The condition can last for years.

Researchers in California conducted studies on 165 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Each patient underwent an upper GI endocopy ? in which a camera examines the gastrointestinal tract ? and biopsies of stomach tissue.

A common stomach virus has been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome after it turned up in 80 per cent of patients with the debilitating condition who were involved in one small California study.

"We don't have anything for these poor people, although we've tried a number of things," said one of the study's authors, John Chia, an infectious disease specialist in private practice in Torrance, Calif. "Now we can study how these viruses behave and how we can kill them."

Researchers believe chronic fatigue sufferers could benefit from antiviral therapy.
(CBC) The study was published on the Journal of Clinical Pathology's website Thursday.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may worsen with physical or mental activity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Many people with the condition experience weakness, muscle pain, impaired memory and-or mental concentration, insomnia, and post-exertional fatigue lasting more than 24 hours. The condition can last for years.

Researchers in California conducted studies on 165 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Each patient underwent an upper GI endocopy ? in which a camera examines the gastrointestinal tract ? and biopsies of stomach tissue.

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The samples were tested for viral proteins and compared to stomach tissue samples provide by healthy volunteers.

Scientists found 82 per cent of the samples from chronic fatigue syndrome patients contained the enterovirus protein VPI, which can cause "acute respiratory and gastrointestinal infections." The virus can also affect the heart, nervous system and muscles.

The discovery of the enteroviral protein suggests "a strong association between enteroviral persistence/infection and CFS," reads the article.

Chia believes that enteroviruses may cause half of cases of CFS.

The finding "makes sense to me ?," he said. "If this is a virus, it doesn't destroy the cells, it hides inside the cells. It's one smart little virus."

Researchers feel the results of this study open a new direction in research, as chronic fatigue sufferers could benefit from antiviral therapy, which has proved effective at reducing symptoms in earlier studies.

"This is sort of a new beginning," says Chia. "Now we can have development of antiviral drugs."

According to Statistics Canada's 2002-03 figures, about 1.3 per cent of the population reported having chronic fatigue syndrome.
 

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