New Blood Test in Development May Detect Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) are all complex and similar medical conditions that generally cause pain flare ups, chronic fatigue, and immune system issues, among other symptoms. The conditions are difficult to diagnose because the causes are not well understood. Many people still do not believe CFS is even real, unfairly choosing to label the patient as “lazy.” In turn, receiving disability insurance benefits for CFS and similar conditions is often an uphill battle, as insurance companies may try to argue the claimant is fabricating their symptoms.
Thankfully, accurately diagnosing CFS and ME may soon become much easier due to a newly developing blood test. Researchers at Stanford University, led by Dr. Ron Davis, used a nanoelectronics assay that reported how quickly a patient’s cells reacted to electric stimulus and internal neurological responses. In particular, the researchers wanted to see how readily a CFS/ME patient’s cells would recover from stimulus while in a high-salt environment. Cells with abnormally high salt levels are considered to be in “high stress.”
According to their preliminary research conducted on 20 healthy individuals and 20 people who had already been diagnosed with CFS or ME, the blood cells of the CFS/ME patients fared worse in the test. After the stimulus in the high-salt environment was applied, CFS/ME patient cells changed significantly and “recovered” poorly. The healthy controls, in comparison, barely changed and resumed normal functions shortly afterwards.
Dr. Davis admitted it was not clear why the cells reacted so differently to the stimulus and high-salt environments. Regardless of the lack of initial understanding, the research is invaluable, for it shows an actual physical difference between a healthy individual and someone with CFS symptoms. In effect, the test proves the condition is not “just in the patient’s mind” and it is certainly not someone just being “lazy.” Due to the initial test’s success, researchers are hoping to conduct another run with a much larger sample group.
You can learn more about this developing study by clicking here and viewing a full article from the National Institutes of Health. If you are living with CFS or a similar disease and find each day at work a serious struggle, then you should consider how filing for long term disability insurance can help.
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