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Brain Abnormalities Found In Chronic Fatigue Patients

Update Date: Oct 29, 2014 10:34 AM EDT

Researchers have found distinct differences between the brains of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and those of healthy people, according to a new study. 

Findings of the study may lead to more definitive diagnoses of the syndrome and may also point to an underlying mechanism in the disease process, the press release added. 

"Using a trio of sophisticated imaging methodologies, we found that CFS patients' brains diverge from those of healthy subjects in at least three distinct ways," said lead author Michael Zeineh, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology, in the press release. 

More than 1 million individuals in the United States are affected by CFS. Coming up with a more precise number of cases is tough because it's difficult to actually diagnose the disease. While all CFS patients share a common symptom-crushing, unremitting fatigue that persists for six months or longer-the additional symptoms can vary from one patient to the next, and they often overlap with those of other conditions, the press release added. 

"CFS is one of the greatest scientific and medical challenges of our time," said the study's senior author, Jose Montoya, MD, professor of infectious diseases and geographic medicine, in the press release. "Its symptoms often include not only overwhelming fatigue but also joint and muscle pain, incapacitating headaches, food intolerance, sore throat, enlargement of the lymph nodes, gastrointestinal problems, abnormal blood-pressure and heart-rate events, and hypersensitivity to light, noise or other sensations."

The study is published in the journal Radiology

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