When Sara Medrano described their symptoms to doctors, often ultimately referred to a psychiatrist. He suffered from a continuous depletion, the origin of which seemed to be impossible to identify. "They told me that it was something psychosomatic," says Medrano, who is currently the treasurer Afinsyfacro, the Spanish association of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue patients. "I was lucky that I was in the office and the same person several times, and she told me that they could not help from a psychiatric point of view and gave me a letter to show it, when they want to transfer me back to psychiatry" continues . After he received the diagnosis in the clinic of Barcelona, on the basis of the stress test repeated on different days and supplemented neurocognitive tests. As treatment, it is not much more than tramadol and acetaminophen pain.
The path traveled by Medrano common among patients with this disease. "Too often, the disease is classified as imaginary," said Ron Davis, School of Medicine, professor at Stanford University (USA). Davis & # 39 is the lead author of the study published Monday in the journal PNAS and can help to change that perception by offering scientific evidence of blood tests that the chronic fatigue syndrome & # 39 is real.
Too often, the disease is classified as imaginary
The diagnosis of the disease, when it occurs, is based on symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, sensitivity to light, pain with no identified cause and trouble sleeping, and always necessary to rule out other diseases easier to identify. Test created Rahim Esfandyarpour, to measure the stress response of immune cells. This measurement was done to collect blood samples from 40 people, 20 with chronic fatigue syndrome, and 20 who did not suffer from this problem.
As the authors explain, the results are accurate and consistent. After the cells with salt stress, an electric current is applied to them, which was used to measure changes in these cells. The greater the change in the current, the greater the changes in the cells, a sign that they were not well absorbed by the stress. Samples of patients with chronic fatigue were the ones that showed significant changes in current.
Davis admits he does not know why the blood plasma and cell of people with chronic fatigue react well, but considers that such a distinct difference between the response of these cells and healthy cells with & # 39 is "scientific evidence that the disease is not a & # 39 The invention is a patient's mind. "
It is assumed that chronic fatigue affects 2.5% of the population, and there are no effective treatments
Researchers at Stanford University want to expand their research to prove the method still give the same results when applied to a larger number of patients. In addition, they want to use a diagnostic system for the detection of drugs that help treat the disease, which, as commented Medrano, have several therapeutic options. The platform will be used to estimate cell stress response of the patient in a conventional manner and after exposure to the molecule. If the drug enhances the reaction, it can be considered as a candidate for the treatment of chronic fatigue.
At the present time, according to a statement from Stanford University, the team identified a compound that seems to restore the healthy functioning of the immune system cells in the blood plasma of patients. After applying it, the major changes in the current observed before treatment disappeared. Until now it has not been tested in people with chronic fatigue, but Davis and Esfandyarpour hopes to do so in the near future, in clinical trials to confirm its effectiveness. In order to facilitate and expedite the flow of these drugs, all of the molecules that they are testing with his new diagnostic system have been approved by the FDA, the agency that regulates sale of drugs in the United States.
The results are "spectacular"
Julie Blanco, researcher IrsiCaixa and Research Institute of the Germans Trias i Pujol, Barcelona, considered to be "spectacular" results of the Stanford team. "It is of the most striking differences are seen in healthy people and people with chronic fatigue," he says. The search for diagnostic purposes in the center of the efforts of people who work with chronic fatigue, diseases are currently diagnosed only on the basis of the patient's self-assessment questionnaires. "It leaves a lot of room for sub & # 39; objectivity," says Blanco. "In IrsiCaixa we are working with the characteristic of the disease from an immunological point of view, and we saw the difference, but not with this power, and this specificity", recognizes. According to the investigator, the new system, it has demonstrated its effectiveness with a large number of patients will also be very useful to check if the treatment is administered to a patient having the desired results.
Medrano believes that this diagnostic system, when it eventually could be applied across the board to improve the lives of patients, before they know who suffer from a certain disease called chronic fatigue, faced with the question of how they propose some doctors, evil only in your head. In addition, include a lot if someone can get the deficit of public assistance. "I have a 33% disability, but also for other diseases; chronic fatigue are not considered ", he concludes.
Depending on how the specified disease prevalence may reach 2.5% of the population, and there is currently no diagnostic tests that do not depend on the sub & # 39 objective patient response. There is also no specific drugs to treat them. Studies such as the one published on Monday in PNAS They can begin to change this situation.