Proof chronic fatigue isn't just in their heads
QUEENSLAND scientists have linked chronic fatigue syndrome to a dysfunctional immune system, providing more evidence the disorder is physiological rather than psychological.
Griffith University research has identified a defective cell receptor in the immune system of people with chronic fatigue syndrome which they hope will lead to a definitive test for the disorder and eventually, an effective treatment.
Queensland Science Minister Leeanne Enoch announced the breakthrough on the Gold Coast today at the university's National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases, which has received about $1.6 million in state government funding since 2008.
"This discovery is great news for all people living with chronic fatigue syndrome and the related myalgic encephalomyelitis, as it confirms what people with these conditions have long known - that it is a 'real' illness - not a psychological issue," Ms Enoch said.
"CFS and ME are notoriously difficult to diagnose, with sufferers often going for years without getting the proper care and attention they need. Currently, there is no effective treatment."
Ms Enoch said the announcement would be welcome news to the 250,000 Australians believed to be affected by the disorders.
Lead researcher Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik said that apart from Queensland Government funding, the university had also received a $4 million grant from the Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation to further their work into chronic fatigue and myalgic encephalomyelitis.
Her colleague Professor Don Staines said the funding would be used to investigate the commercialisation of a diagnostic test the research team was working on as well as potential treatments.