Human herpesviruses in chronic fatigue syndrome.
We have conducted a double-blind study to assess the possible involvement of the human herpesviruses (HHVs) HHV6, HHV7, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and cytomegalovirus in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients compared to age-, race-, and gender-matched controls. The CFS patient population was composed of rigorously screened civilian and Persian Gulf War veterans meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's CFS case definition criteria. Healthy control civilian and veteran populations had no evidence of CFS or any other exclusionary medical or psychiatric condition. Patient peripheral blood mononuclear cells were analyzed by PCR for the presence of these HHVs. Using two-tailed Fisher's exact test analyses, we were unable to ascertain any statistically significant differences between the CFS patient and control populations in terms of the detection of one or more of these viruses. This observation was upheld when the CFS populations were further stratified with regard to the presence or absence of major axis I psychopathology and patient self-reported gradual versus acute onset of disease. In tandem, we performed serological analyses of serum anti-EBV and anti-HHV6 antibody titers and found no significant differences between the CFS and control patients. (+info)
Use of formal and informal care among people with prolonged fatigue: a review of the literature.
Prolonged fatigue is a common symptom in the community and a common complaint in GPs' surgeries. The current consensus is that prolonged fatigue is most appropriately managed within primary care but that quality of care is patchy. Diagnosis is difficult and there is no conclusive evidence about effective treatment. This can lead to confusion and controversy among lay people and health professionals alike. Although the value of a positive doctor-patient relationship is emphasized, general practice consultations are frequently experienced as difficult by both parties. Moreover, little is known about how people access other sources of care and information about prolonged fatigue, such as alternative medicine, self-help groups, lay others, and self care, in conjunction with or as an alternative to care from health professionals. This paper reviews the literature on the nature and extent of the problem prolonged fatigue represents for primary care, and on the use of formal and informal care for prolonged fatigue. (+info)
Increased postwar symptoms and psychological morbidity among U.S. Navy Gulf War veterans.
To investigate reports on war-related morbidity, 527 active-duty Gulf War veterans and 970 nondeployed veterans from 14 Seabee commands were studied in 1994 with a questionnaire, sera collection, handgrip strength, and pulmonary function testing. The questionnaire assessed postwar symptoms, war exposures, and screened for chronic fatigue syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychological symptoms suggesting neurosis (Hopkins Symptom Checklist). Sera were tested with four nonspecific reactant assays: C-reactive protein, transferrin, ferritin, and haptoglobin. Gulf War veterans reported a higher prevalence for 35 of 41 symptoms, scored higher on psychological symptom scales, were more likely to screen for post-traumatic stress disorder, had lower handgrip strength, and had higher serum ferritin assay results. Numerous comparisons of these morbidity outcomes with 30 self-reported exposures demonstrated many associations, but no unique exposure or group of exposures were implicated. Morbidity data are consistent with other postwar observations, but the etiology for morbidity findings remains uncertain. (+info)
DISCERN: an instrument for judging the quality of written consumer health information on treatment choices.
OBJECTIVE: To develop a short instrument, called DISCERN, which will enable patients and information providers to judge the quality of written information about treatment choices. DISCERN will also facilitate the production of new, high quality, evidence-based consumer health information. DESIGN: An expert panel, representing a range of expertise in consumer health information, generated criteria from a random sample of information for three medical conditions with varying degrees of evidence: myocardial infarction, endometriosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. A graft instrument, based on this analysis, was tested by the panel on a random sample of new material for the same three conditions. The panel re-drafted the instrument to take account of the results of the test. The DISCERN instrument was finally tested by a national sample of 15 information providers and 13 self help group members on a random sample of leaflets from 19 major national self help organisations. Participants also completed an 8 item questionnaire concerning the face and content validity of the instrument. RESULTS: Chance corrected agreement (weighted kappa) for the overall quality rating was kappa = 0.53 (95% CI kappa = 0.48 to kappa = 0.59) among the expert panel, kappa = 0.40 (95% CI kappa = 0.36 to kappa = 0.43) among information providers, and kappa = 0.23 (95% CI kappa = 0.19 to kappa = 0.27) among self help group members. Higher agreement levels were associated with experience of using the instrument and with professional knowledge of consumer health information. Levels of agreement varied across individual items on the instrument, reflecting the need for subjectivity in rating certain criteria. The trends in levels of agreement were similar among all groups. The final instrument consisted of 15 questions plus an overall quality rating. Responses to the questionnaire after the final testing revealed the instrument to have good face and content validity and to be generally applicable. CONCLUSIONS: DISCERN is a reliable and valid instrument for judging the quality of written consumer health information. While some subjectivity is required for rating certain criteria, the findings demonstrate that the instrument can be applied by experienced users and providers of health information to discriminate between publications of high and low quality. The instrument will also be of benefit to patients, though its use will be improved by training. (+info)
Acute effects of thirty minutes of light-intensity, intermittent exercise on patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Currently, there is no consensus on exercise prescription for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This investigation examined whether light-intensity, intermittent physical activity exacerbated symptoms in patients with CFS immediately following exercise to 7 days following exercise. Subjects. Subjects were 9 women (mean age=44.2 years, SD=8.4, range=29-56; mean weight=74.2 kg, SD=18.8, range=56.36-110.91; and mean height=1.63 m, SD=0.8, range=1.55-1.78) and 1 man (age=48 years, weight=97.1 kg, and height= 1.98 m) who met the Centels for Disease Control and Prevention's criteria fi)r (FS. METHODS: Subjects performed 10 discontinuous 3-minute exercise bouts (separated by 3 minutes of recovery) at a self-selected, comfortable walking pace on a treadmill. Oxygen consumption, minute ventilation, respiratory exchange ratio, and heart rate were measured every minute during the exercise session. To assess degree of disability, general health status, activity level, symptoms, and mood, subjects completed various questionnaires before and after exercise. RESULTS: Results indicated that degree of disability, general health status, symptoms, and mood did not change immediately and up to 7 days following exercise. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: Thirty minutes of intermittent walking did not exacerbate symptoms in subjects with CFS. The physiological data did not show any abnormal response to exercise. Although this study did not determine whether 30 minutes of continuous versus intermittent exercise would exacerbate symptoms, all 10 subjects felt that they could not exercise continuously for 30 minutes without experiencing symptom exacerbation. Despite this limitation, the results indicate that some individuals with CFS may be able to use low-level, intermittent exercise without exacerbating their symptoms. (+info)
Vitamin B status in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome say they benefit from taking vitamin supplements. We assessed functional status for the B vitamins pyridoxine, riboflavin and thiamine in 12 vitamin-untreated CFS patients and in 18 healthy controls matched for age and sex. Vitamin-dependent activities--aspartate aminotransferase (AST) for pyridoxine, glutathione reductase (GTR) for riboflavin, transketolase (TK) for thiamine--were measured in erythrocyte haemolysates before and after in-vitro addition of the relevant vitamin. For all three enzymes basal activity (U/g Hb) was lower in CFS patients than in controls: AST 2.84 (SD 0.62) vs 4.61 (1.43), P < 0.001; GTR 6.13 (1.89) vs 7.42 (1.25), P < 0.04; TK 0.50 (0.13) vs 0.60 (0.07), P < 0.04. This was also true of activated values: AST 4.91 (0.54) vs 7.89 (2.11), P < 0.001; GTR 8.29 (1.60) vs 10.0 (1.80), P < 0.001; TK 0.56 (0.19) vs 0.66 (0.08), P < 0.07. The activation ratios, however, did not differ between the groups. These data provide preliminary evidence of reduced functional B vitamin status, particularly of pyridoxine, in CFS patients. (+info)
Achieving a patient-centred consultation by giving feedback in its early phases.
The traditional medical consultation comprises history, examination, and investigations, followed by explanation to the patient of diagnosis and management. In the course of studying a series of tape-recorded consultations in a specialist medical clinic for chronic fatigue, we have observed a different structure. In some consultations, those categorized as more 'patient-centred', doctors introduced explanation and education into the early history-taking stage. This strategy is contrasted with the traditional approach, where the doctor only elicits information during the history, and gives an explanation later. The 'early feedback' strategy may result in patients with chronic illnesses achieving greater understanding of their symptoms. We discuss the implication of these findings for medical training. (+info)
Prediction of peak oxygen uptake in chronic fatigue syndrome.
OBJECTIVES: To establish a simple, valid, and acceptable method of predicting peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which could provide a basis for subsequent exercise prescription at an appropriate intensity as part of a clinical rehabilitation programme. METHODS: A total of 130 patients who met UK research criteria for CFS were taken from consecutive referrals for chronic fatigue to the University Department of Medicine at Withington Hospital, Manchester. VO2peak was determined using an incremental graded exercise test to exhaustion. Respiratory gas exchange, work rate, and heart rate were monitored throughout. RESULTS: In all patients, VO2peak was found to correlate strongly and significantly with peak work rate (WRpeak) during testing (r2 = 0.88, p<0.001). In patients who exercised for longer than two minutes (n = 119), regression analysis established the relation as Vo2peak = 13.1 x WRPpeak + 284, where VO2 is given in ml/min and WR in W. The mean error between the measured VO2peak and the predicted value was 10.7%. The relation between increase in work rate and oxygen uptake across the group was highly significant (r2 = 0.87, p<0.001), and given as VO2increase = 12.0 x WRincrease, this value being similar to that expected for healthy individuals. Almost all (97%) subjects reported no exacerbation of symptoms after maximal exercise testing. CONCLUSIONS: Using a simple to administer maximal exercise test on a cycle ergometer, it is possible to predict accurately the VO2peak of a patient with CFS from peak work rate alone. This value can then be used as an aid to setting appropriate exercise intensity for a rehabilitation programme. The increase in VO2 per unit increase in workload was consistent with that expected in healthy individuals, suggesting that the physiological response of the patients measured here was not abnormal. Contrary to the belief of many patients, maximal exercise testing to the point of subjective exhaustion proved to be harmless, with no subjects suffering any lasting deterioration in their condition after assessment. (+info)