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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis /Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a chronic condition without a diagnostic test and some 80 - 90% of patients remain un-diagnosed. A new paper published in Frontiers in Medicine outlines how having a diagnostic test could greatly help both patients and medics.

Biomarker illustration with text 'Propelling research, providing hope, preserving dignity'

ME/CFS is a devastating disease that affects over 250,0001 individuals in the UK, yet there is no reliable biomarker and diagnosis is based on manifesting clinical symptoms, coupled with high inter-patient variability. 

Developing an early diagnostic test is of fundamental importance in the treatment of any illness. In ME/CFS a diagnostic test would help not only in the clinical management of patients and but give patients hope that we are moving closer to understanding a condition which is currently is very much a mystery illness.

Using modern statistical approaches and machine learning Dr Karl Morten (Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health) and his colleagues have identified a series of variables including the micro RNA’s of blood cells and small extracellular vesicles which can distinguish a group of severe ME/CFS patients from healthy controls with 100% accuracy. These two groups cannot be readily separated by a standard blood test. Standard tests return as negative for the severely ill group. Their next step is to apply this approach to mild and moderately affected ME/CFS patients with different levels of disability and compare to other disease groups as well as healthy controls. This will determine if we have a potential panel of biomarkers which could be used to developed a diagnostic test. 

Read the full story on the Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health website

 

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