CFS/ME, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating, life-altering condition that affects many Americans. People with CFS/ME often have no medical help or treatment due to the lack of research and information available up to this time.
CFS/ME renders many of its sufferers chronically housebound and often bed-bound due to the multitude of severe symptoms they contend with.
According to an April 4, 2014 article on Sciencedaily.com, research from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies, with Osaka City University and Kansai University of Welfare Sciences have shown that functional PET imaging may be useful for people with CFS/ME.
One theory about the cause of CFS/ME has focused on neuroinflammation, though until now there has been a lack of solid evidence. But this research may help to change all that.
Levels of inflammation of the nerve cells, also known as neuroinflammation, were found via PET scan to be significantly higher in those with CFS/ME than in people that are healthy.
A PET scan is a positron emission tomography scan, an imaging test which involves the use of a tracer (a radioactive substance) to identify disease.
The tracer goes into a vein, often inside the elbow, and travels through the blood, collecting in tissues and organs. In this way the tracer highlights the areas the radiologist wishes to study.
A PET scan is different from magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, as well as computed tomography, or CT. These tools show organ structure and the blood flow going to and from various organs.
A PET scan, instead, shows how tissues and organs are functioning. It shows an organ's function, size, shape and position.
The study is a small one, involving nine people with CFS/ME, and 10 people without the condition. Participants completed a questionnaire concerning their levels of cognitive dysfunction, depression, fatigue and pain.
A protein expressed by astrocyte cells and microglia was measured by the PET scan. Astrocyte cells and microglia have been seen to play a role in neuroinflammation.