Major Cause of ME/CFS Has Been Uncovered

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • The highly respected ME/CFS researcher Dr. Kenny De Meirleir and his research team announced that they have uncovered a major cause of this mysterious illness as well as a diagnostic test for it. 

    ME/CFS, is known to most of the world as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis but was unfortunately dubbed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by the U.S. Center for Disease Control.  It's an immensely complicated illness and, as such, it has also been tremendously controversial.  For more than 25 years, researchers have struggled to identify the cause or causes.  Even though a number of biological abnormalities have been found, many doctors still insist it is mostly a psychological problem. 

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    Enter Dr. De Meirleir, a Belgian scientist known for his cutting-edge ME/CFS research.  Dr. De Meirleir is a professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels and Director of the HIMMUNITAS Foundation Brussels.  At a London press conference last month, Dr. De Meirleir announced the results of his latest study – “Research on Extremely Disabled M.E. Patients Reveals the True Nature of the Disorder.”

    About the Study

    The study compared totally bedridden ME/CFS patients, less ill ME/CFS patients, family controls, contact controls and non-contact controls.  They found that ME/CFS patients have an intestinal bacteria that produces an excess of the neurotoxin hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which can cause many of the ME/CFS symptoms.  Then they hypothesized that the urine of the bedridden ME/CFS patients would contain more H2S metabolites than the less ill patients.  Next, they developed a simple color-change urine test which confirmed their hypothesis.  The urine of the extremely ill patients immediately turned dark blue.  The urine reaction from the less ill patients was slower and not as dark.  Urine from the control groups showed no change at all. 

    Until the test receives approval as a diagnostic kit and can be distributed by pharmacies and health care facilities, Dr. Meirleir and his team are making it available directly to patients as a “research kit.”  The test kit can be ordered through Protea Biopharma at a very reasonable price.  Their Web site also shows step-by-step pictures of how to do the test.

    Too Good to Be True?

    Dr. De Meirleir's announcement has met with mixed reactions from the ME/CFS community.  While most are hopeful that he is correct, some remain skeptical.  They've seen too many promising theories fall by the wayside over the years.  But I find it hard to imagine that Dr. Meirleir would put his excellent reputation on the line unless he was confident in the accuracy of his results. 

    Obviously there will need to be additional studies to confirm his findings.  And then, of course, they will need to find a way to reduce or eliminate the excess H2S.  If that is accomplished and the ME/CFS disappears, we'll truly have a reason to celebrate!  

    Here are some related links you may be interested in: 

    ME/CFS Diagnostic Kit

    Research Abstract

    Cort Johnson's Observations About This Study

Published On: June 29, 2009