Family Medical History of Persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Background: Little research has examined the family history of persons with CFS, although a few studies have found people with CFS may be more likely to have family members with fatigue or CFS-like conditions, cancers, autoimmune illness, and early parental death.

Research into the family history of fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and other medical or psychiatric illness may help inform the etiology of this illness.

Objectives: The present investigation examined the occurrence of medical and psychiatric illness in the family history of persons with CFS, and then compared these results with the family history of medical illness reported by a control group of persons without fatigue.

Methods: Family medical history data was obtained from questionnaire responses, a medical assessment, and medical records, and were then classified into specific illness categories, using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10).

Family history data was compared among three groups using logistic regression analyses.

Results: Results indicated that persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome were significantly more likely to report a family history of endocrine/metabolic disorders when compared to the control group.

Conclusions: Findings suggest an underlying familial predisposition toward the development of both CFS and endocrine/metabolic disorders. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that CFS represents a deregulation of the endocrine system.

Source: Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 2005; Vol 12(4), pp. 25-35; DOI: DOI: 10.1300/J092v12n04_03 by Toress-Harding SR, Jason LA, Turkogul OD, Center for Community Research, Chicago, Illinois; Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA. [E-mail: ]

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