A CHEMICAL MARKER FOR CFS IDENTIFIED?

AREA: Fidonet CFS Echo
DATE: 07-16-94
POSTED BY: Roger Burns
SOURCE : message posted by Gary Jones to Internet CFS-L discussion group
COPYRIGHT: none

[The following press release was issued by the University of Newcastle and was posted to the Internet CFS-L discussion group by Gary Jones.]


THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE
Information and Public Relations Unit
Callaghan, NSW Australia

MEDIA RELEASE

11 July 1994

CHRONIC FATIGUE CHEMICAL ISOLATED

Sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) have for many years been labelled as having a psychological disorder. Indeed, well-known British psychiatrists examining CFS patients during an early outbreak of the diseasee diagnosed hysteria as the underlying cause. The problem has been put down to apathy, or even a desire not to work. Newcastle researchers have now shown conclusively that the disorder is not a psychological one. The psychological symptoms and profiles result from, but do not cause, the disease. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, they say, has a physiological basis.

Working with a team of researchers, Dr Hugh Dunstan and Professor Tim Roberts from the Unversity of Newcastle's Department of Biological Sciences have, for the first time, isolated a chemical marker in the urine of sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. They have labelled the marker CFSUM1, "CF Someone".

Dr Dunstan explained that this marker can be directly correlated with all the key symptons of CFS. These symptoms include generalised fatigue, muscle fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea, fever, dizziness and swollen lymph glands. The more prevelant the marker, the greater the symptoms.

The incidence of CFS or related fatigue disorders is wide spread. Studies in the US have shown that 27 percent of the population reporting to a doctor had a debilitating fatigue phenomenon affecting their daily lives. Many people remain undiagnosed out of fear of being told they have a psychological disorder.

The difficulty associated with diagnosing the disease has resulted in confusion among patients and a huge cost to the health care system. Isolation and definition of the chemical marker and a simple urine analysis developed by the researchers will prevent incorrect diagnosis and save time and money. Dr Dunstan believes that further studies will also provide insight into the treatment of CFS.

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Media enquiries should be directed to Cae Pattison in the University's Information and Public Relations Unit on (049) 216457, fax (049) 216400


SUBJECT:NEWCASTLE STUDY - MORE INFORMATION

AREA: Fidonet CFS Echo
DATE: 07-16-94
POSTED BY: Roger Burns
SOURCE : message posted to Internet CFS-L group by Meredith Dixon
AUTHOR : Meredith Dixon
COPYRIGHT: none

The Newcastle Study -- More Information

[The following is the full text of a message posted to the Internet CFS-L discussion group on July 14, 1994 by Meredith Dixon.]

I've just heard from a friend who lives in Australia. She reports that the story is being taken very seriously by the reputable Australian media, and that articles on it have appeared prominently in the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald (on the front page of one of them). She says that this is the Australian equivalent of something appearing on the front page of The New York Times.

According to the articles, the work is someone's doctoral dissertation, which may, as my friend pointed out, explain why it has not been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. I infer that the two professors named in the press release are that doctoral student's faculty mentors or something.

My friend quoted the Melbourne Age:

"The Newcastle study, which compared 22 CFS suffereres with 44 'control subjects', found that all those suffering from the syndrome tested positive to the chemical, which has never been identified before. They also found that 48 per cent of those in the control group had the marker, but these people also showed indicators of CFS in their answers to questions about symptoms. They seemed to represent an intermediate group, people who have some of the symptoms even though they don't meet the definition of CFS as it stands, Dr. Dunstan said yesterday. 'There's likely to be people out there who do not meet the definition, but who carry the compound and show some of the symptoms.'

He said that this was the first time that anyone had documented 'something that is well and truly across most subjects that have it, and it definitely correlates with all the signs, the symptoms that are generally accepted.' He said that the presence of the marker was also related to some of the biochemical changes that occur in sufferers. Royal North Shore hospital [read a big public hospital] which has pioneered services and support for CFS sufferers in Sydney, is understood to be considering a large-scale study. The hospital has 280 teenagers suffering from CFS on its register, and 120 have been through the support program."

Meredith Dixon
dixonm@access.mountain.net

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