A study which concluded last week has found that chronic fatigue syndrome is not linked with two suspected viruses, making the search for the cause of the syndrome more elusive.
People with CFS suffer from lingering exhaustion and joint pain and scientists have yet to come up with a reason for the disease — a problem that creates skeptics who think their condition isn’t real, but actually masks something else, like depression, reports Yahoo! News.
The two suspected viruses cause persistent lethargy, pain, and sometimes memory problems, all of which are also symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. The study was published this week in mBio and follows two studies that suggested the two viruses, XMRV and pMLV, can be found in patients with CFS. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University, a co-author in the study, said in a news release that:
“The bottom line is we found no evidence of infection with XMRV and pMLV. These results refute any correlation between these agents and disease.”
Philly.com notes that researchers from the US National Institutes of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Columbia University and other institutions worked together to examine 147 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome around the country, comparing their results with 146 healthy patients.
In analyzing samples from the group with CFS and the one with healthy patients, the researchers found no evidence of the virus in either sample. Dr. Jonathan Stoye, head of virology at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, in London added that:
“There can no longer be any ambiguity. There is no remaining evidence linking XMRV or pMLV with [chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis].”
Researchers have looked at several types of infections, as well as changes in immune systems to uncover a cause for chronic fatigue syndrome, which is an incurable disease. There is no evidence that CFS is caused by nutrition deficiencies either. Treatment is also tailored to the individual’s symptoms.