Reported by eurekalert.org.
A scientist believes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome could be caused by common chemicals like head lice treatments and insect repellents.
Professor Mohamed Abou-Donia also says the illness has similar characteristics to Gulf War syndrome.
His tests show chemicals which are relatively harmless used separately, can become highly toxic to the brain when used together.
Professor Abou-Donia says governments should consider restricting the availability of some household chemicals until more is known about their interaction in the brain and with other substances such as over-the-counter medicines.
He made his claims at a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome conference in Sydney. The condition is believed to affect up to one in 250 adults.
Professor Abou-Donia is an expert in pharmacology, cancer biology and neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center, reports eurekalert.org.
He found rats exposed to an insect repellent and an insecticide suffered brain cell death “consistent with muscle weakness, joint pain and problems with the central nervous system.”
He also discovered they were more susceptible to the damage if under stress. Stress seemed to cause minor breakdown of the blood-brain barrier allowing chemicals to permeate the brain more easily.
“It seems to me that CFS and Gulf War syndrome have many common characteristics,” said Professor Abou-Donia.