18 March 2008
[Image caption: “The stigma associated with the disease can sometimes be as much of a problem as the symptoms.”]
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 18/03/2008
A simple blood test may revolutionise the way we treat patients with ME, reports Bob Ward
British researchers are close to developing, for the first time, a blood test and potential drug treatments for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), following groundbreaking work on its genetic origins.
ME/CFS affects about one in 200 people, and women sufferers outnumber men by six to one. It causes a constant feeling of extreme exhaustion and malaise for more than six months, along with sleep abnormalities, memory and concentration difficulties and a great deal of pain.
In its most extreme form, the disease leaves sufferers bed-ridden and can even be fatal.
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Bob Ward has donated the fee for this article to the CFS Research Foundation and ME Research UK . He is former winner of the Bayer/Telegraph science writer award, judged by a panel that includes Sir David Attenborough and Adam Hart-Davis, which is now open to 15-year-olds too. The closing date is March 31. See science-writer.co.uk for details
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