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Montreal researchers make Chronic Fatigue Syndrome discovery

A discovery by Montreal researchers is expected to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), better known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

In most instances, ME is currently diagnosed by elimination, as doctors put aside other possible causes of the patient’s symptoms.

But researchers from the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine, led by Professor Alain Moreau, have found a blood biomarker that can help identify patients with ME.

The findings could lead to better treatment for the disease, including early detection, according to Moreau.

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The research takes on new importance in the context of the current pandemic since ME occurs in 75 per cent of cases after a severe viral infection. Patients infected with COVID-19 are therefore more vulnerable, especially if they experience long-lasting symptoms.

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“We know that some of them will, unfortunately, develop myalgic encephalomyelitis, just like certain chronic forms of Lyme disease,” Moreau said.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis affects 70,000 people in Quebec, 600,000 in Canada, and 2.5 million in the United States.

The results were first reported in Scientific Reports.