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Science News Cover Story Features Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Latest CFS Research

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By Editor • • July 10, 2006

Science News is not a personality-focused publication, but the cover of its July 1, 2006 issue features the face of a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patient emerging from shadows. The cover story – “A Vexing Enigma: New Insights Confront Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” by Ben Harder – does much to explain and validate CFS scientifically among this magazine’s 140,000-plus readers. It begins with the story of 12-year CFS patient Laurel Wright, followed by a discussion of suspected triggers, how CFS is diagnosed, frequently associated symptoms, and “supportive treatment options” for dealing with them. Importantly, the article also summarizes recent research findings which “do provide evidence that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a biologically distinct disease,” including the recent work to identify genetic mutations unique to CFS patients, published as a suite of articles in the April 2006 issue of the journal Pharmacogenetics. (See “New Evidence That Genetics Are Responsible for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” in the Library). The article also highlights a new trial funded by the maker of the immune-modulating drug Ampligen, “which has been under investigation for two decades.” The “as yet unpublished” results of this latest trial reportedly allowed CFS patients who received Ampligen for 40 weeks to increase their exercise tolerance by an average of 15 percent compared with another group of CFS patients who received “a fake version” of the drug (placebo). If the Food and Drug Administration’s follow-up research supports its approval of Ampligen for marketing as a CFS therapy, the article adds, its maker projects the cost of the drug at $15,000 to $20,000 per patient per year, not counting fees for its administration.

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