A research abstract from Dr. Paul Cheney offers an interesting conclusion.
Oxygen Toxicity as a Locus of Control for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
“We conclude that CFS is an oxygen toxic state and that oxygen toxicity status appears to determine outcome in therapeutic trials and is therefore, a locus of control in chronic fatigue syndrome.”
The possibility of an efficacious treatment for CFS is exciting. I’ll be watching the news for more information on this angle.
There’s been a lot of buzz over the past week about a study published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that suggests treating fibromyalgia and ME/CFS with cortisol (a steroid), based on the fact that most patients have low cortisol levels. I do not have access to that publication, but would like to point out some concerns.
First, most of the reports are not clear about the fact that this was a literature study, rather than a controlled clinical study.
Second, while at least one story did claim that the literature study was followed up with an “observational study” in which all of the FMS/CFS/ME patients in a particular clinic were given cortisol. That does not meet the standards of a controlled, clinical study, which would require an untreated control group and a group receiving placebos instead of cortisol.
There have been multiple clinical studies of the effects of steroids on FMS/CFS/ME. I found records of studies of prednisone and hydrocortisone, in particular. Those studies did not find any positive effects from treatment compared to placebos, and in some cases there were significant problems resulting from the treatments. I did not find a study specifically involving cortisol, but I don’t know if that’s because there hasn’t been one or because I don’t have access to the appropriate databases. (I’m sure there are more studies out there, but I don’t have access to Medline.)
I’d strongly suggest waiting for the results of repeatable, controlled clinical tests of cortisol before trying steroid treatment. Steroids have serious side effects, and should not be taken lightly.
I’ve been doing so much reading because I’ve been sick and unable to do much else. We did get the girl to her doctor, so we know there’s no strep around here. The doctor wouldn’t rule out mono, but wouldn’t test for it either. (I don’t really like this woman, and we usually try to go when the nicer physician is there.) She said that since they don’t do anything but treat the symptoms if it is mono, and the contagion period would have been 60–90 days ago, she doesn’t see any reason to run a test.
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