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Assessment of Post-Exertional Malaise (PEM) in Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): A Patient-Driven Survey
Open AccessArticle

Evidence of Clinical Pathology Abnormalities in People with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) from an Analytic Cross-Sectional Study

1
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
2
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diagnostics 2019, 9(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics9020041
Received: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Insights that Inform the Diagnosis of ME/CFS)
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating disease presenting with extreme fatigue, post-exertional malaise, and other symptoms. In the absence of a diagnostic biomarker, ME/CFS is diagnosed clinically, although laboratory tests are routinely used to exclude alternative diagnoses. In this analytical cross-sectional study, we aimed to explore potential haematological and biochemical markers for ME/CFS, and disease severity. We reviewed laboratory test results from 272 people with ME/CFS and 136 healthy controls participating in the UK ME/CFS Biobank (UKMEB). After corrections for multiple comparisons, most results were within the normal range, but people with severe ME/CFS presented with lower median values (p < 0.001) of serum creatine kinase (CK; median = 54 U/L), compared to healthy controls (HCs; median = 101.5 U/L) and non-severe ME/CFS (median = 84 U/L). The differences in CK concentrations persisted after adjusting for sex, age, body mass index, muscle mass, disease duration, and activity levels (odds ratio (OR) for being a severe case = 0.05 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.02–0.15) compared to controls, and OR = 0.16 (95% CI = 0.07–0.40), compared to mild cases). This is the first report that serum CK concentrations are markedly reduced in severe ME/CFS, and these results suggest that serum CK merits further investigation as a biomarker for severe ME/CFS. View Full-Text
Keywords: myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS); energy metabolism; potential biomarkers myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS); energy metabolism; potential biomarkers
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Nacul, L.; de Barros, B.; Kingdon, C.C.; Cliff, J.M.; Clark, T.G.; Mudie, K.; Dockrell, H.M.; Lacerda, E.M. Evidence of Clinical Pathology Abnormalities in People with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) from an Analytic Cross-Sectional Study. Diagnostics 2019, 9, 41.

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