Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been in the news frequently as of late, and we’re here to share some important news regarding the condition. There are two big items to speak of:
First, we have a brand new study published in the November 2014 edition of the journal Radiology. This study is fantastic news on many fronts. It helps to spread awareness of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and seeks to understand the reasons why the victim’s body acts the way that it does. Without a thorough understanding of the condition, it becomes nearly impossible to help. In the past, sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (and Fibromyalgia, as the two conditions are often related) have been relegated to waiting rooms, psychiatrists, and mental health evaluations, while their complaints and pleas regarding their often-debilitating ailment were dismissed. Many victims of these diseases have been unfortunate in their quest for understanding what their condition is, and how they might be able to find some relief.
The New York Times outlines the study as such:
“Researchers at Stanford University compared brain images of 15 patients with the condition to those of 14 healthy people. The scientists found differences in both the white matter, the long, cablelike nerve structures that transmit signals between parts of the brain, and the gray matter, the regions where these signals are processed and interpreted.
The most striking finding was that in people with the disorder, one neural tract in the white matter of the right hemisphere appeared to be abnormally shaped, as if the cablelike structures has crisscrossed or changed in the most seriously ill patients exhibited the greatest level of this abnormality.
The researchers also found in M.E./C.F.S. patients a thickening of the gray matter at the two points of the right hemisphere connected by this particular neural tract. And the overall volume of white matter in the brains was reduced, compared with the brains of people without the disorder.”
More details about the study can be found here. Second, the New York Times Magazine has an absolutely fantastic profile on the author Laura Hillenbrand. Hillenbrand is the author of “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” (2001) and “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” (2010), among other books. Both novels have been turned into major motion pictures. Despite the author’s proficience, the NYTM allows us a deeper view of this gifted author. Unbeknownst to many, she’s been suffering with debilitating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The profile details some of the details regarding the uniqueness of the condition:
“One peculiarity of chronic fatigue syndrome is the degree to which it can remain invisible: A patient may be in excruciating pain without showing outward sign of illeness. There is no simple laboratory test for the disease, nor any way to confirm its diagnosis.”
And then into Hillenbrand herself:
“What’s startling to consider is that Hillenbrand has done this with little access to the outside world. She is cut off not only from basic tools of reporting, like going places and seeing things, but also from all the promotional machinery of modern book selling. Because of the illness, she is forced to remain as secluded from the public as the great hermetic novelists. She cannot attend literary festivals, deliver bookstore readings or give library talks and signings. Even the physical act of writing can occasionally stymie her, as the room spins and her brain swims to find words in a cognitive haze. There have been weeks and months — indeed, sometimes years — when the mere effort to lift her hands and write has been all that she can muster.”
The entire profile is an astounding piece of writing, and serves not only as a unique biographical piece, but an inspiring motivational sermon with as much power and inspiration as Hillenbrand’s novels themselves. It’s well worth your time today.