Lab Notes

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A simple blood test for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be on the horizon

Shared by

Sara Whitestone


Université de Bordeaux

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic  encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), has its first blood-based diagnostic test thanks to the efforts of Dr. Ron Davis. Dr. Davis launched the Stanford Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research Center in 2013, after his son, Whitney, developed the devastating and debilitating illness. 

While there are an estimated 2 million people in the US living  with ME/CFS, many patients go for years without a diagnosis, which they get only after other disease possibilities have been eliminated. Dr. Davis and his team developed a nanoelectric assay, which can measure minuscule changes in energy, to test the effects of stress on immune cells and plasma. The change in electrical activity is directly correlated with the health of the sample, therefore allowing Dr. Davis' team to accurately distinguish the cells from ME/CFS patients from healthy controls. While more research efforts are needed to accurately diagnose and treat this illness in clinic, this is one of the first biomarkers for ME/CFS identified. These results from Dr. Davis' team prove that this illness is not made up in the patients' heads, but identifiable in their blood.