Wednesday, August 09, 2006

An Immunological Test to Indicate Chronic Fatigue

Jay Levy, M.D., of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of alifornia. San Francisco, has developed an immunological test that distinguishes patients with CFS from healthy people and from those with other disorders having similar symptoms, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, documented depression, acute viral-like illness, and prolonged fatigue without other CFS criteria.a

Dr. Levy emphasizes that the test is not yet diagnostic, but it is used as a kind of prescreening to identify possible CFS candidates for further study. Dr. Levy and his colleagues have found that the immune systems of people with CFS, unlike those of healthy people, are in a constant overactive state and never return to a normal operating level. This over-activity is what is behind the deep fatigue; paradoxically, this heightened activity overlays a condition of dysfunction and immune incompetency.

In this test, CFS patients with the most r. severe symptoms (based on a study sample Of 147 patients) tend to have increased activation markers on CDS cells, with reduced numbers of CDS suppressor cells. This reveals the immune imbalance: one aspect is inappropriately activated, the other exists in insufficient numbers.

The test involves monitoring CDS cells (the proteins on killer T cells that are attacked by viruses). "Most noteworthy is the statistical evidence that an individual with two or more of the CDS cell subset alterations has a high probability (90%) of having active CFS," says Dr. Levy."

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