The long wait for a breakthrough in chronic fatigue syndrome

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There hasn’t been much good news for patients with the prevalent but enigmatic disorder chronic fatigue syndrome (also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis). Over decades, research into the pathophysiology has failed to find convincing evidence of either persistent infection or immunological, endocrine, or metabolic change, and has rejected simplistic notions of depression (typical or atypical) or primary sleep disorder. Several notable “breakthroughs” have failed independent replication.

The most noteworthy is the recent rise and fall of xenotropic murine leukaemia virus related virus (XMRV) as the cause, which was ultimately established as a murine DNA laboratory contaminant.

Similarly, an exhaustive array of randomised controlled trials seeking curative outcomes from antiviral, immunological, hormonal, antidepressant, and many other therapies have failed to show any benefit over placebo, or failed the replication test.

Hospitalisation leads to functional decline in the over 70s

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Two in five patients aged over 70 who are hospitalised with acute conditions are discharged with reduced functioning compared with when they were admitted, a study has found.

Staying in bed, being attached to urinary catheters unnecessarily, taking sleeping pills, and inadequate nutrition are some of the reasons for a decline in function, the researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society