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No link between chronic fatigue syndrome and the viruses XMRV and pMLV.

A study in mBio this week shows that contrary to previous findings, new research proves there is no link between chronic fatigue syndrome and the viruses XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) and pMLV (polytropic murine leukemia virus). The authors say research that reported patients with chronic fatigue syndrome carried these two viruses was wrong and that there is still no evidence for an infectious cause behind chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a disabling condition in which sufferers experience persistent and unexplained fatigue as well as any of a host of associated problems, including muscle weakness, pain, impaired memory, and disordered sleep. Medical treatment for CFS/ME costs as much as $7 billion every year in the U.S. alone.

The possible causes of CFS/ME have been argued and researched for years with no success. Results from separate studies in 2009 and 2010 that reported finding retroviruses in the blood of patients with CFS/ME created a sensation among patients and the medical community and offered hope that a tractable cause for this disease had finally been found. Since then, other investigators have been unable to replicate the results of those studies, casting doubt on the idea that these viruses, XMRV and pMLV, could be behind CFS/ME.

Study co-author and director of the multi-site study, Ian Lipkin of Columbia University, says the National Institutes of Health wanted conclusive answers about the possible link. “We went ahead and set up a study to test this thing once and for all and determine whether we could find footprints of these viruses in people with chronic fatigue syndrome or in healthy controls,” says Lipkin. The study in mBio puts the speculation to rest, he says. Scientists were wrong about a potential link between chronic fatigue syndrome and these viruses.

Click on the "source" link to read more on mBio's blog, mBiosphere.
 
 

Comments (1)

  1. There is an inaccurate statement in this article. The authors did not say there is no evidence of an infectious cause in ME/CFS, only that XMRV and pMLV do not cause it. In a Twiv podcast with Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Dr. Lipkin stated that many patients in previous studies have shown polyclonal B-cell activation and that research into the microbiome and biomarkers continues including work at the CII. He stated that the bulk of the funds invested in the study went toward patient selection (specific case definitions (there are many), psychiatric disorders causing fatigue were excluded, patients had an infectious trigger etc,) and sample collection. This leaves sufficient samples for nearly fifty more studies is this rigorously defined population according to Lipkin. The full podcast is available on iTunes or on Dr. Racaniello's blog.

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