Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Virus Tied To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

National Public Radio:


You're listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR News. I am Ira Flatow.

Up next, the latest on a mysterious illness called chronic fatigue syndrome. Researchers have been studying people who have been diagnosed with it, trying to figure out what might be causing their symptoms, which range from joint pain, debilitating fatigue and inflammation.

A team of researches reports that - the team report that they hit - they've hit on something. Out of 101 people diagnosed with chronic fatigue, 67 percent of them had a specific virus in their blood: a virus called XMRV. And just four percent, or so, of healthy volunteers had the virus in their blood. Scientists have known about the virus for a while. It's been implicated in other diseases.

Joining me now to talk more about this work, published in the journal Science, is John Coffin, professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts University in Boston.

Welcome to SCIENCE FRIDAY, Dr. Coffin.

Dr. JOHN COFFIN (Professor of molecular biology and microbiology, Tufts University, Boston): Good afternoon, Ira. Thank you.

FLATOW: So, this is a pretty good indication, a pretty good connection?

Dr. COFFIN: For a first report, it's very good, in fact. There's still a lot of work to be done, to firmly establish a causal relationship between the virus and the disease. But it's a very, very interesting first step.

FLATOW: Well, this would also vindicate a lot of people who have chronic fatigue syndrome who have, you know, been abused by people who think it's all in your head, you've got something else, it's just a syndrome, there's no real cause to it. Things like that.

Dr. COFFIN: I would imagine that's the case, yes.

FLATOW: Mm-hmm. And so how did you go about - what was your motivation for looking for this viral connection?

Dr. COFFIN: I have to make one thing very clear right here. The work we're discussing was not mine. It was done by other groups. I'm a very interested observer and chronicler of their work. And I had worked on this virus many years ago when we thought it was just a mouse virus.

The people that did work on it, ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


"I have watched the Reeves shop for about ten years now and shook my head at the antics that he and his people have engaged in. None of it was truly directed at CFS research, but instead, was useful to all chronic/acute diseases. Yet that money for CFS was wasted. The advocates are screaming that CDC knew of this virus back in the 90's and that millions are sick, disabled and dead from cancers, heart disease and suicide. This isn't a good situation and I have waited to see how long Reeves people could get away with this stuff and with the Emory Mind=Body Program. Reeves is cooked since they all believe that Reeves is getting paid from his contractors. But the advocates also think that money isn't really at work here - more a conspiracy of WHY Reeves and his people refused to work on real research and kept CFS in the psych arena. Boy is the proverbial STUFF going to hit the fan soon. I just don't understand why Reeves played this type of game for so long."

"We can't replicate the XMRV study because our samples aren't from patients meeting the 1994 Fukada definition or the 2003 Canadian consensus definition. And in 2003 when we had all the tests done we didn't test for any of the well known immunological problems or viral loads so we can't even subgroup."


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