Biology of chronic fatigue gains focus - The Boston Globe
For years, many doctors and others dismissed people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as depressed, lazy, or just plain whiny. Now, a slew of research -- more than 2,000 scientific papers by some counts -- is suggesting that chronic fatigue is not a psychiatric illness, but a nasty mix of immunological, neurological, and hormonal abnormalities.
Several types of brain scans, for instance, have found different patterns of blood flow to certain regions of the brain in patients with chronic fatigue, and other studies have shown that patients have difficulty in thinking and processing information, and are unable to do several mental tasks at once. ''There are objective brain abnormalities in many patients with CFS that are consistent with the symptoms patients describe," said Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a chronic fatigue expert and editor-in-chief of Harvard's Health Publications, a division of Harvard Medical School.
Judy Foreman is a freelance columnist who can be contacted at [email protected]
© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.
Hopefully, this puts to rest once and for all the notion that CFS is just depression, laziness, unwillingness to work, or any of the other things I've been accused of. I have had "off the charts" blood test results, which cannot be faked.
Certainly no one in her right mind would give up a job paying $50,000+ a year in order to live at the poverty level. That's the thing that most people don't get -- disability benefits aren't enough to live on unless you have an employed spouse, which I don't, or can live with your siblings/children (which I don't have). They have the notion that people on disability can afford, on their own income, to take vacations and hire household help, etc., etc. In fact, most people on disability can't even afford their medications without financial assistance from friends or family. Horrifying, isn't it? People on disability are urged to get back to the work force, but if they're single, they have no way of paying for the physical therapy or medication that would allow them to do that.
It's not a life of leisure, it's a life of constantpain and penny-pinching. With as good a paycheck as I earned most of my life, the government expects me to pay for housing, utilities, groceries, medical care and prescriptions on the equivalent of minimum wage. Yes, you read that correctly. All the things that healthy, employed people cannot manage to pay from their minimum wage paycheck, PLUS hundreds of dollars a month for prescriptions, for a wheelchair if you need one, for a housecleaner if you need one, for a car because you can't walk far enough to take the bus.... This is something that needs to be understood by all the people who think that there's any benefit from going on disability; the money isn't that good -- you'd have to be incredibly lazy to think that subsisting on a quarter of your former income is better than working and being able to afford to pay your bills.