Researchers pinpoint protein abnormalities in CFS, Lyme disease patients' spinal fluid.
The CBS Evening News (2/23, story 7, 1:55, Couric) reported, "Chronic fatigue syndrome: Some believe that's a made-up condition." CBS (Miller) added, "For as many as four-million Americans afflicted with CFS, science offers tangible proof they have a disease. ... Researchers examined the spine fluid of CFS patients, healthy people, and patients afflicted with a similar disorder, Lyme Disease. They found over 700 proteins or indicators of disease unique to CFS patients alone."
According to the AP (2/24), the study in the journal PLoS analyzed spinal fluid from 25 "chronic Lyme patients, 43 people diagnosed with CFS and 11 healthy people." They detected "more than 2,500 proteins in each group"; and found "clear sets of proteins -- hundreds each -- unique to each disease." Lead researcher Dr. Steven Schutzer of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey said the next step will be to "study more people to see if certain protein abnormalities" might serve as a diagnostic signature. Specialists called the study a "promising start" for clearing up confusion about the two illnesses. But "much more work is needed," cautioned Dr. Joseph Breen, a Lyme specialist at the National Institutes of Health, which "helped fund the work."
The Wall Street Journal (2/24, Marcus, subscription required) adds that Dr. John Aucott of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who was not involved with this study in PLoS, said the findings could ultimately lead to the development of more effective treatments for both illnesses. Dr. Aucott is the lead researcher for a study that will enroll 100 Lyme disease patients and seek to identify blood differences between people who have chronic Lyme disease and those who recover after treatment.
Source: AMA Member Communications [MorningRounds@ama.custombriefings.com], Feb 24, 2011