1998 Clinical and Scientific Meeting


I. Buttfield, H. Butt, H. Dunstan, N. McGregor & T.K. Roberts

The Treatment of CFS

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) has had a very controversial history. The existence of this syndrome has been questioned, but now we have adequate data that this is an "organic" disorder and recent research has suggested that this disorder may be related to cell wall dysfunction. The reason is not known as yet but new research is in progress to elucidate this polysymptomatic disorder.

Given the controversy surrounding the diagnosis, it is not surprising that treatment has become confused and emotional. Many treatments continue to be tried and some partial successes have been found.

Treatments fall into a number of formats and these will be described. There are homeopathic, "medically acceptable" therapies and unorthodox remedies. Most treatments have tended to focus upon vitamins, amino acids and health foods in the belief that the fatigue is due to some changes in the "milieu interna". Such therapies are unsuccessful in part because the disease has a cause that few expected and vitamins will not alter. A few have had clinical trial data to validate them and none have curative intent. The best that could be hoped for, was and is, a slight improvement in function and the doctor has not always been helpful even with that. There is an increasing public demand for more effective therapies and proper support, not only from doctors but also now, highly skilled medical therapists such as dieticians, social workers etc.

With the advent of the discovery of the "molecular biology" of CFS, there is hope of testing and developing treatment strategies for this disorder.

This paper will review past treatment therapies and will outline an attempt to utilize the research information from Newcastle University to develop new therapies. The paper will describe work in progress to utilize the amino acid serine in the treatment of CFS.


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