No link between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and CFS, XMRV virus

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Researchers have published a paper in the magazine Science reporting that their previous study that said that a virus called XMRV is not, as previously thought, linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The original study was published in 2009.

The new study was conducted by the Blood XMRV Scientific Research Working Group, who analyzed 15 patients who tested positive for the XMRV virus. Fourteen of those people had chronic fatigue syndrome. In addition, the researchers studied 15 people who did not have the XMRV virus.

After analyzing the samples, the scientists found no definitive link between XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Chronic fatigue syndrome has symptoms including severe pain, constant tiredness and trouble with concentration and memory. Many people who have chronic fatigue syndrome say their doctors do not take their illness seriously and are told they are not really ill. There is no known cause for chronic fatigue syndrome, though some researchers have thought the herpes virus or Epstein-Barr virus could be causes. Those who suffer from CFS were excited about a possible cause when the original research came out because the cause meant there might be a treatment. An estimated one percent of the world’s population suffers from CFS.

Judy A. Mikovits of the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nev., which led the original research team, said the initial work needed more research and follow-up and suggested that a virus might be behind CFS.

"We have to dig in to find the right viruses. We need to keep looking," she said.

President and CEO of the Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Association of America Kim McCleary said she disagreed, and it is time to start looking at other research.

"We share the deep disappointment of many CFS patients and scientists that the initial data did not hold up. Whether you have been diagnosed recently or have been ill for decades, this news comes as a blow to hope for rapid advances in the care available to CFS patients," McCleary said in a statement.

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