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What Triggers Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

IoPPN professor Carmine Pariante stressed that while the study's main finding is a useful addition to scant scientific knowledge about CFS

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CFS
In another study, the team from the varsity, found an increased risk of a neck artery tear after having the flu. VOA

Scientists exploring what may trigger a complex disorder known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have found clues in the way some people’s immune systems respond more actively to a health attack.

A severe illness characterized by long-term physical and mental fatigue, CFS is thought to affect up to 17 million people worldwide and around 250,000 people in Britain.

Sufferers are often bed-bound and unable to carry out basic daily activities like washing and feeding themselves.

The researchers used a drug known as interferon alpha to create a model of the syndrome and found that patients whose immune response to treatment was hyperactive or exaggerated were more likely to then develop severe fatigue.

CFS
Russell’s team used this knowledge and measured fatigue and immune system markers in 55 patients before, during and after treatment with interferon alpha.

“For the first time, we have shown that people who are prone to develop a CFS-like illness have an overactive immune system, both before and during a challenge to the immune system,” said Alice Russell of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), who led the work.

The condition, as well as research into it, is highly contentious, in part because its possible causes and range of debilitating symptoms are poorly understood.

Interferon alpha is used as a treatment for hepatitis C infection, and activates the immune system in the same way as a powerful infection. Many patients who receive interferon alpha experience extreme fatigue during treatment, and some continue to feel chronic fatigue for many months after the drug course is completed.

Vaccination, CFS
Biologist Jason Plyler prepares to test at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. VOA

Russell’s team used this knowledge and measured fatigue and immune system markers in 55 patients before, during and after treatment with interferon alpha.

They found that the 18 of those 55 who went on to develop a CFS-like illness had a hyperactive immune system before treatment, and an highly overactive response during treatment. “(This suggests) people who have an exaggerated immune response to a trigger may be more at risk of developing CFS,” Russell told reporters at a briefing about the findings.

Also Read: Regular Sleep in Childhood Leads to Healthy BMI Later

IoPPN professor Carmine Pariante stressed that while the study’s main finding is a useful addition to scant scientific knowledge about CFS – also known as myalgic encephalopathy (ME) – it offers few clues on how to treat, cure or prevent it.

“It’s a light in the fog,” he told reporters. “But a better understanding of the biology underlying the development of CFS is needed to help patients.” (VOA)

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Heavy Smoking Can Make Your Face Look Older

An alysis searched across 18,000 traits and apart from the new finding of more rapid facial aging, also identified several previously reported effects of smoking, confirming the method's effectiveness

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Smoking
The known effects of Smoking includes worse lung function, and higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and skin cancer. Pixabay

Smoker’s Face– a condition where smokers look older than they are, is just one of many negative effects caused by heavy Smoking, researchers have warned.

“We searched across thousands of traits to identify those that may be affected by how heavily someone smokes. As well as identifying several known adverse effects such as on lung health, we also identified an adverse effect of heavier smoking on facial aging,” said study author Louise Millard from the University of Bristol in UK.

According to the study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, some people carry one or two copies of a genetic variant that is associated with heavier tobacco use.

To simultaneously identify these two types of effects, the researchers used a novel combination of two data analysis approaches and applied them using data from people in the UK Biobank.

They separated people into two groups. The first contained people who had never smoked, and the second included current and former smokers.

Smoking
Smoker’s Face– a condition where smokers look older than they are, is just one of many negative effects caused by heavy Smoking, researchers have warned. Pixabay

The analysis searched across 18,000 traits and apart from the new finding of more rapid facial aging, also identified several previously reported effects of smoking, confirming the method’s effectiveness.

The known effects of smoking that the analysis identified included worse lung function, and higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and skin cancer.

ALSO READ: Google To Stop Services For explorer Edition of Glass Soon

Besides emphasising smoking’s many dangers, the study also serves as proof of principle that these data analysis tools can be used to identify effects of other exposures of interest, such as alcohol intake. (IANS)