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ME linked to stomach virus

Chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME, is linked to a stomach virus, suggest researchers in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

A study of 165 patients with ME found that all had longstanding gut complaints.

Stomach tissue specimens from patients with ME revealed intermittent or persistent gut problems such as indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome.

Researchers say that viral infections such as glandular fever produce many of the symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Endoviruses that infect the bowel can cause severe but short lasting respiratory and gut infections.

More than 80% of stomach tissue specimens from ME patients tested positive for enteroviral particles compared with only 21% of those from healthy patients.

Journal Clinical Pathology

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I am an ME sufferer and I know how debilitating this syndrome can be. I am a psychiatric nurse and never thought or accepted that ME was psychological. As part of a group of adults with ME I have been going through the graded exercise programme, however what I can say is that most of the people in that group are high achievers who like myself have felt frustrated at the inability to realise their potential in life due to the unpleasantness of ME. I am still working although some times things are so bad I feel like giving up, but I love my job too much to do that and I wish I could do more. With regard to the question on stomach problems, I have suffered from gastric problems ever since I was a teenager. I do not know whether that counts, I also have IBS. I spend a lot of time looking for the latest research on ME in a bid to better understand what it is I am suffering from. I do not agree that it is psychological but I do know that the symptoms are worse when faced with mentally draining situations" - Rumbi Musodza, London

"Whatever the outcome of the ME research, it is refreshing to see money being spent seeking a physical cause, rather than  assuming that, because we have not yet found one, ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) must be a psychiatric illness, even though there is no evidence of a greater incidence of psychiatric history amongst ME patients than in the general population. Incredibly, the search for a physical cause was considered beyond the remit of the NICE guidelines for the treatment of ME, published last month, especially as it was recognised that this would be "very helpful". Some ME sufferers will think this litotes some woeful neglect but perhaps a majority will not be surprised since the Guideline Development Group was dominated by  psychiatrists who recommended the same two management techniques - Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Graded Exercise Treatment - in the first place and continue to use them despite being based on selective evidence of questionable reliability and warnings of irreversible harm to people with ME" - Dr John H Greensmith, Bristol