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Friday, March 6, 2015

Study Finds Bio-markers to Diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Objective Medical Evidence of CFS, ME/CFS

One of the most difficult aspects of showing a disability from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) is convincing the insurance company that the condition was properly diagnosed.  No definitive medical test exists, leading insurers to deny LTD claims based on CFS because of the lack of objective medical evidence.  I discussed some of these issues in an earlier post about the recent proposal that the condition be called Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease or SEID.

A study recently established that there are differences in the immune system that are associated with CFS.  Patients who had been diagnosed for less than three years had significant activation of cytokines, which influence inflammation, and patients who had been diagnosed for more than three years had dampened cytokines activity.  Healthy subjects had neither condition.  

While the study does not have current clinical significance, it holds out the hope of developing a definitive blood test for CFS.  Here  is a link to a New York Times article on the study. Here is a link to a Reddit "AMA" with Mady Hornig, who worked on the study.  She answers many questions regarding the study and CFS in general.

Diagnosis is important, but as stated repeatedly in this blog, you must focus on the impairment, rather than the diagnosis.  See my prior post on this issue.  But, getting over the diagnosis hurdle would be a big help for an initial application for long-term disability benefits, and appeal of a LTD denial, or a lawsuit to recover LTD benefits.  

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