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Researchers aim to solve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome mysteries

The goal of medical research is to expand knowledge, improve treatments and find cures. While cures can take years and enormous commitments of time and money, the search can often provide drug enhancements and other advances that can enable doctors to more effectively treat patients.

New research by the National Institutes of Health hopes to give physicians and patients alike a better understanding of the disease (or combination of conditions) commonly referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The debilitating disorder is still a mystery in many ways.

It is estimated that as many as a million Americans suffer from myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Many people with the condition dislike references to "chronic fatigue syndrome," believing that the common term trivializes a disorder that can prevent a person from working or even carrying out ordinary daily tasks.

Because ME/CFS can be difficult for doctors to identify, many with the condition are initially misdiagnosed and treated for disorders they do not have.

The NIH's study is underway, with participants undergoing a series of tests that include a variety of MRIs, sleep studies, immunological testing and detailed metabolomics and proteomics, among others.

The head of the research team says that the hypothesis is that ME/CFS involves over-reacting immune systems that "do a lot of collateral damage" to victims.

Researchers also hope to determine if there are triggering infections, and if there are, how they cause the onset of the condition and why symptoms persist after infections subside.

Let's hope the study results in significant advances in identifying and treating ME/CFS. For many with the condition, work is impossible and Social Security Disability benefits are necessary.

An attorney experienced in SSDI appeals can help you navigate a complex process.

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