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NEWS FLASH - A Test for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)

  [ 45 votes ]   [ 7 Comments ]
By Dr. Sarah Myhill, MD • • January 24, 2009

“We now have an objective measure of energy supply and therefore a test for one immediate cause of CFS/ME.”Sarah Myhill, MD

[Ed Note: As of April 30, 2010, we deleted the link once offered here to Dr. Myhill’s handout on mitochondrial failure as the central cause of CFS/ME, as in that handout she mentions the hypothesis that CFS may be heart failure secondary to mitochondrial malfunction. Until further clarification, it may be that the UK General Medical Council verdict of April 29, 2010 forbids Dr. Myhill to mention heart failure on her website.]

Jan 20, 2009 - The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine has published on line details of a biochemical test which measures energy supply to body cells and therefore fatigue levels in people with Chronic Fatigues Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). The scientific paper, entitled “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Mitochondrial Dysfunction,” is available here.

For treating the fatigue of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, doctors have been hampered by the lack of a good test. This scientific paper clearly shows that the fatigue of CFS/ME is a symptom of mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria are the biochemical engines within every cell in the body, which supply energy to that cell.

What is shown by this paper demonstrates that the more fatigued the patient, the worse is the mitochondrial dysfunction and vice versa. This means that we now have an objective measure of energy supply and therefore a test for one immediate cause of CFS/ME

This test has resulted from the brilliant and pioneering work of the internationally recognized Dr. John McLaren-Howard of Acumen laboratories. He has taken cutting edge research biochemistry and applied it to the clinical conundrums thrown up by the illness known as CFS/ME.

This test can help distinguish between those people fatigued because of a biochemical problem in their mitochondria and those who are fatigued for other reasons.

Other reasons include dietary causes (allergy and carbohydrate intolerance), hormonal reasons (such as borderline thyroid and adrenal function), poor antioxidant status, chronic insomnia, psycho-social causes such as anxiety, and other causes.

Many doctors are already using this test and hundreds of patients are already taking the necessary nutritional supplements to support mitochondria. Many of these doctors and patients have observed significant clinical improvements. For some their health is so much improved that they have been able to lead normal lives and return to the workplace.

Dr. Myhill, one of the authors of the paper, says:

"This test represents a huge breakthrough in the diagnosis and management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. This illness has already been classified as a neurological disease by the World Health Organization under ICD 10 G93.3, but many doctors continue to treat CFS/ME as if it were a psychological condition. This has been enshrined in NICE Guidelines for treating CFS/ME because their recommendations are for psychological treatments including antidepressants, cognitive behavior therapy and graded exercise therapy.

"This is completely inappropriate for patients who have mitochondrial pathology and indeed is likely to make the mitochondrial pathology even worse.

"A useful analogy is to compare your body with your car. The mitochondria represent the engine of that car, the diet represents the fuel that goes in the tank, the thyroid gland represents the accelerator pedal and the adrenal gland the gearbox of that car. Using cognitive behavior therapy or graded exercise to treat a patient with CFS/ME is akin to beating up the driver of the car when actually the car needs a re-conditioned engine, suitable fuel in the tank, resetting of the accelerator pedal, a new gear box or whatever.

"This test invalidates the psychological model of CFS/ME and clearly establishes this illness as having a physical basis. Sufferers of CFS/ME have known this for many years, but now we have the biochemical basis to prove this.

"This study clearly shows that CFS/ME has a physical basis with the potential for correction through physical and biochemical interventions. Clinical experience has shown that the package of supplements to support mitochondrial dysfunction is effective and this will be the subject of further studies."


Dr. John McLaren-Howard, [recipient of] the Maberley Medal from the British Society for Ecological Medicine for his outstanding laboratory work in the field of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. It is his brilliant work and skills which have made this research possible. He has developed many known biochemical research techniques and pioneered new tests for investigation of patients with fatigue syndromes and related disorders. These have proved vital in ascertaining the cause of disease. The ATP profile featured in this scientific paper is just one example of many cutting edge research tools which he has applied to establishing disease causation.

Dr. Norman Booth, a retired physicist from Mansfield College, Oxford University. Dr Booth has been responsible for ensuring the necessary academic rigor to ensure publication in this scientific journal. He prepared all the necessary graphs and illustrations which clearly show the relationship between mitochondrial function and levels of fatigue

Dr. Sarah Myhill, a clinical doctor with a special interest in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. She was responsible for collecting the original data from her patients, and from the biochemical tests, and noticing a relationship between the two.

We are all especially grateful to those CFS/ME patients and non-patients who all co-operated fully, without whom none of this would have been possible.


Dr. Sarah Myhill
Telephone 01547550331
Fax: 01547550339
Mailing Address: Upper Weston, Llangunllo, Knighton, Powys, Wales LD7 1SL, UK

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Article Comments Post a Comment

Posted by: Simi2
Feb 12, 2009
This is fantastic news. It is so difficult being ill and not having proof. I think it is a very complicated disease and lots more research will be needed but it is a good start. The cells that make the energy are obviously affected, it is so frustrating when I know if I walk/exercise more one should get fitter not more tired.
Reply Reply

Testing for CFS/ME
Posted by: bbrown1
Feb 12, 2009
When reading this article I began to tear up. How outstanding it would be to finally have not only a test that could prove CFS/ME but also the proper meds and/or supplements to improve the overall fatigue and pain that make up this horrible disease. The more people who adhere to requests to become involved in waging support for further funding through the CDC via our politicians, medical staffing, family and friends, the sooner we will be on our way to a renewed lifestyle, free of these disabling symptoms. I have waited over three years for SSDI to be approved, having had CFS for over four years. The judge who made the final decision for benefits was one of the toughest judges I could have gotten and denied my claim, stating I alleged all of my symptoms. You don't want to know how much it angered me that one man's decision affected the remainder of my life and lifestyle. The sooner we can prove how disabling CFS is, the better off not only we, the sufferers, will be but also the country, as many of us could go back to work contributing to society once again. Sincerely, Brenda Brown Virginia, MN
Reply Reply

Thank God!!
Posted by: Dee911Lady
Feb 14, 2009
It is so hard to find a Doctor who even believes in CFS or Fibromyalgia. What a relief it would be to actually have proof this is not all in your head. Treatment would be a Godsend. I just want my life back, I want the old me back. This has been a living nightmare.
Reply Reply

Test for Chronic Fatigue
Posted by: ida01
Feb 24, 2009
Will this test ever be available in the United States? I live in Buffalo, New York. What is the treatment or name of medication that helps on with Severe Chronic Fatigue. I can't even walk from my car to a store entrance without getting so fatigue I don't even grocery shop anymore. This is no quality of life. I am thankful that this is not life threatning or worse, but all I do is sleep. I can't eat, have a bowel movement once every 3 weeks, and I do take medication to try to help the problem, but if I can't eat, etc.. I need to take the test as soon as possible. Thanks for all your hard work and determination to help one with CFS. Keep up the testing for the millions that suffer with it and Fibromyalgia.
Reply Reply

Yes you can order the test
Posted by: Craig1947
Mar 23, 2009
Hi, Go to, click on Fatigue and follow instuctions to have the test kit sent to you. You will have to send it back to UK (currently only one lab in the world does this test). Then Dr Sarah Myhill will report back to you on your results and suggested treatment protocol. Hope this helps. Craig Robinson


Test available in US?
Posted by: Craig1947
Mar 23, 2009
Currently only one lab, Acumen, based here in UK, can offer this test. Many labs in US are racing to catch up. Go to and click on Fatigue and follow the instructions for the test kit. You will be sent a test kit, it will be analysed over here in UK and then Sarah Myhill will send the results and suggested treatment protocol back to you. Craig To save you effort,address you need to go to is


Getting tested in the US
Posted by: Craig1947
Mar 23, 2009
Currently only one lab, Acumen, based here in UK, can offer this test. Many labs in US are racing to catch up. Go to and click on Fatigue and follow the instructions for the test kit. You will be sent a test kit, it will be analysed over here in UK and then Sarah Myhill will send the results and suggested treatment protocol back to you. Craig To save you effort,address you need to go to is
Reply Reply

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