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Groundbreaking Research on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: New Findings and Hope for Patients

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Medriva Correspondents
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Groundbreaking Research on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: New Findings and Hope for Patients

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The debilitating condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), affects an estimated 80,000 people in Austria, and this number is set to rise due to the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the causes of ME/CFS still largely unknown and no concrete biomarkers for diagnosis, researchers at the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Vienna) are making strides towards understanding this complex disease better.

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New Biomarkers for ME/CFS

The team at MedUni Vienna has identified potential biomarkers that could improve the diagnosis and treatment of ME/CFS. This significant breakthrough is a step towards gaining a more detailed insight into different disease mechanisms. The study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, builds on earlier research on immune disorders and the intestinal barrier function in ME/CFS patients.

The research team discovered various biomarkers in patients that indicate immune system disorders or reduced intestinal barrier function. These findings could play a crucial role in the future management and treatment of ME/CFS, making it possible to divide patients into subgroups based on their immune system function. This could potentially lead to more personalized treatment approaches, tailored to each patient's immune competence.

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Establishment of the ME/CFS Biobank Austria

To further its research efforts, MedUni Vienna is establishing the first ME/CFS Biobank in Austria, with the support of the WE&ME Foundation. This Biobank will be a valuable resource for future research projects and will enable transnational collaboration with research groups in the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany.

The Impact of ME/CFS

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ME/CFS is a severe multisystemic disease that often results in a high degree of disability. It is estimated that 60 per cent of patients are unable to work full time, and 25 per cent are bedridden. The condition significantly impacts the quality of life of patients, yet the exact causes remain unclear.

ME/CFS and COVID-19

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people affected by ME/CFS could potentially double in the coming years. The links between infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and ME/CFS are currently the subject of intense research. Understanding this connection could provide crucial insights into the long-term effects of the virus and how it may contribute to the development of chronic conditions like ME/CFS.

Despite the challenges in diagnosing and treating ME/CFS, the work being done at MedUni Vienna represents a beacon of hope. The identification of potential biomarkers and the establishment of the ME/CFS Biobank are significant steps towards better understanding and managing this complex disease. As the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold, the importance of this research becomes increasingly clear.

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