Overactive Immune Systems Linked With ME

Health

Overactive Immune Systems Linked With MEScientists of King’s College in London recently suggested that overactive immune systems could explain why people suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. Several sufferers of ME or CFS said that their conditions started after their immunities were hit by challenges, like infections. 55 people with Hepatitis-C were studied. A drug was given to them that react in a similar way to a virus. 18 of them with overactive immune systems developed symptoms of CFS, which is a long-term disease that is characterized by intense fatigue.

Hepatitis C is usually treated with the interferon-alpha drug which works by challenging immune system like it would do powerful infection. Measurements for immune markers and fatigue were taken prior to the treatment, during it and post completion of treatment. People developing persistent illness similar to CFS were tracked. The 18 people who developed symptoms of CFS were seen to have stronger immune responses to the given medication. Significantly, these 18 patients also had overactive immune systems before start of treatment. Researchers Dr Alice Russell and Prof Carmine Pariante said that this study brings scientists a step closer to identifying people at risk of developing the illness during the crucial initial stages.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis is also called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In UK, this long-term disease affects around 250,000 people. Apart from extreme tiredness, it leads to joint and muscle pain and sleep problems, making it difficult for patients suffering from it to do their daily activities. A cure for ME is yet to be discovered. Medical adviser Dr Charles Shepherd pointed out the importance of the study and how it has helped in discovering the role of immune system in causation of CFS or ME. Other than this research, 4 other research projects are being funded by Medical Research Council to find causes behind ME/CFS.

Carol Monaghan, MP of Scottish National Party, said in June that graded exercise therapy, available on NHS, is mostly damaging and needs revision. The common Get treatment plan was defended by others. In England, NICE is presently updating guidelines for CFS treatment, publication of which isn’t due till 2020.

Susie Whitehead

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