Found this article today - good information - they're working on a blood test! ?HealthNews - Carslbad,CA,USA Family Health Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Basics By: Lara Endreszl Published: Sunday, 28 December 2008 There is a debilitating illness that preys on multiple systems in the body that had doctors scratching their heads and patients hoping for a miracle: Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Having many names just adds to the complexity of a chronic illness that cannot yet be explained but is being widely researched and deeply investigated. First known in the United Kingdom as ME, the disorder is more commonly known in the United States under the name CFS. As of September of 2008, the University of Nevada was teaming up with researchers all over the world from London to Belgium, and from professional agencies including the National Institute of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Aging to study many samples of the disease in order to find a cause for CFS. Judy Mikovits, director of research at the University of Nevada says that her team is close to developing a blood test for diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome and that they should have it within a year. By sharing their samples with the world, Mikovits says they are able to narrow down their results, ““We send the exact same sample around the world so everybody's looking at the same thing at the same time with the same snapshot and that's what's so important because everybody gets the same answer.”” Statistics of CFS show that it occurs in about 4 of every 1,000 people in the United States, often diagnosed in women more than men and in adults in their 40s and 50s. Many CFS occurrences start with an illness resembling the flu and often in winter, which add to the confusion that most people think they have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or a cold brought on by crummy weather. With the majority of CFS cases occurring suddenly and the rest occurring after several months of stress, the illness is hard to diagnose because of its varied symptoms and inconclusive test results because many of the symptoms are diverse and can occur with many other conditions. Varied symptoms include a lot of muscle and joint pain, chronic exhaustion (both mental and physical), hypersensitivity, depression often due to months of unresolved stress, poor immunity, and possible cardiac and respiratory problems. The most important symptom seems to be unexplainable fatigue lasting at least six months without being caused by exertion. Along with the major factor of fatigue, a lot more symptoms are needed for a diagnosis. Professionals usually can determine CFS with four or more of these symptoms: sleep that doesn’’t refresh you, muscle pain, memory or concentration impairment, multiple joint pain, general physical and mental sickness all day everyday, many headaches or severe headaches, tender lymph nodes, and a persistent sore throat. Many people who end up with CFS/ME are also afflicted by fibromyalgia, a similar disorder but less severe because it is not associated with any other fatal diseases. People living with CFS/ME have also been known to get cardiomyopathy which affects the blood vessels, shingles, and/or cancer. With over one million Americans living with CFS and thousands more undiagnosed, chronic fatigue syndrome has been linked with a controversy that claims because the name isn’’t as serious as the condition behind it, many people tend to write it off as a specifically mental illness. In fact, a woman who has been suffering from ME/CFS for over 25 years told HealthNews of a study in which between 80 and 90 percent of undiagnosed CFS/ME patients are dismissed as neurotics or hypochondriacs and not taken seriously in the medical world. ? [my emphasis] ? If it is true that chronic fatigue syndrome strikes more people in the United States than lupus, multiple sclerosis, or lung and ovarian cancers, we shouldn’’t be asking what it is but why we don’’t know more about it.