What causes ME/CFS?

The cause (known in the scientific literature as the aetiology/etiology) of ME/CFS is currently unknown and is a topic of much research and debate (see for example the following articles (Bested and Marshall, 2015, Nguyen et al., 2016, Lemle, 2009, Papadopoulos and Cleare, 2012). Multiple factors may be simultaneously involved. However, ME/CFS can be triggered by, and/or involve:

In some cases ME/CFS may not have an obvious precipitating event but be the result of a gradual onset (DeLuca et al., 1997, Mawle, 1997). ME/CFS frequently appears with other medical conditions.

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What is ME/CFS?

Symptoms

Severity

Who gets ME/CFS?

Further reading

References

Nguyen, T., et al. “Novel identification and characterisation of Transient receptor potential melastatin 3 ion channels on Natural Killer cells and B lymphocytes: effects on cell signalling in Chronic fatigue syndrome/Myalgic encephalomyelitis patients.Biol Res, 2016, 49(1): 27.

Schlauch, K. A., et al. “Genome-wide association analysis identifies genetic variations in subjects with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.” Transl Psychiatry, 2016, 6: e730.

Khaiboullina, S. F., et al. “Cytokine expression provides clues to the pathophysiology of Gulf War illness and myalgic encephalomyelitis.Cytokine, 2015, 72(1): 1-8.

Bested, A. C. and L. M. Marshall. “Review of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: an evidence-based approach to diagnosis and management by clinicians.” Rev Environ Health, 2015, 30(4): 223-249.

Afari, N., et al. “Psychological trauma and functional somatic syndromes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.Psychosom Med, 2014, 76(1): 2-11.

Papadopoulos, A. S. and A. J. Cleare. “Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome.” Nat. Rev. Endocrinol. 2012, 8(1): 22-32.

Albright, F., et al. “Evidence for a heritable predisposition to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” BMC Neurol, 2011, 11: 62.

Lemle, M. D. “Hypothesis: chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by dysregulation of hydrogen sulfide metabolism.” Med Hypotheses, 2009, 72(1): 108-109.

Ortega-Hernandez, O.-D. and Y. Shoenfeld. “Infection, vaccination, and autoantibodies in chronic fatigue syndrome, cause or coincidence?” Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci., 2009, 1173(Contemporary Challenges in Autoimmunity): 600-609.

Ortega-Hernandez, O.-D. and Y. Shoenfeld. “Infection, vaccination, and autoantibodies in chronic fatigue syndrome, cause or coincidence?” Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci., 2009, 1173(Contemporary Challenges in Autoimmunity): 600-609.

Appel, S., et al. “Infection and vaccination in chronic fatigue syndrome: myth or reality?” Autoimmunity, 2007, 40(1): 48-53.

Sairenji, T. and K. Nagata. “Viral infections in chronic fatigue syndrome.Nihon Rinsho, 2007, 65(6): 991-996.

Hickie, I., et al. “Post-infective and chronic fatigue syndromes precipitated by viral and non-viral pathogens: prospective cohort study.Bmj, 2006, 333(7568): 575.

Buchwald, D., et al. “A twin study of chronic fatigue.” Psychosom Med, 2001, 63(6): 936-943.

DeLuca, J., et al. “Sudden vs gradual onset of chronic fatigue syndrome differentiates individuals on cognitive and psychiatric measures.J Psychiatr Res, 1997, 31(1): 83-90.

Mawle, A. C. “Chronic fatigue syndrome.Immunol Invest, 1997, 26(1-2): 269-273.

Lloyd, A. R., et al. “What is myalgic encephalomyelitis?” Lancet, 1988, 1(8597): 1286-1287.