Evidence for a Heritable Predisposition to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, BMC Neurology, 27 May 2011

May 28, 2011

From BMC Neurology (open access journal), 27 May 2011.

Frederick Albright, Kathleen Light, Alan Light, Lucinda Bateman and Lisa A Cannon-Albright

BMC Neurology 2011, 11:62doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-62
Published: 27 May 2011
Abstract (provisional)


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) came to attention in the 1980s, but initial investigations did not find organic causes. Now decades later, the etiology of CFS has yet to be understood, and the role of genetic predisposition in CFS remains controversial. Recent reports of CFS association with the retrovirus xenotropic murine leukemic virus-related virus (XMRV) or other murine leukemia related retroviruses (MLV) might also suggest underlying genetic implications within the host immune system.


We present analyses of familial clustering of CFS in a computerized genealogical resource linking multiple generations of genealogy data with medical diagnosis data of a large Utah health care system. We compare pair-wise relatedness among cases to expected relatedness in the Utah population, and we estimate risk for CFS for first, second, and third degree relatives of CFS cases.

We observed significant excess relatedness of CFS cases compared to that expected in this population. Significant excess relatedness was observed for both close (p<0.001) and distant relationships (p = 0.010). We also observed significant excess CFS relative risk among first (2.70, 95% CI: 1.56-4.66), second (2.34, 95% CI: 1.31-4.19), and third degree relatives (1.93, 95% CI: 1.21-3.07).Conclusions

These analyses provide strong support for a heritable contribution to predisposition to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A population of high-risk CFS pedigrees has been identified, the study of which may provide additional understanding.

4 thoughts on “Evidence for a Heritable Predisposition to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, BMC Neurology, 27 May 2011”

  1. Err…. what? How can you identify a gentic disposition when you don’t know what ‘gene’ accounts for CFS?

    Sorry, not a science-bod or someone who has ever claimed to understand this stuff.

    Anyone care to do an idiots summary? 🙂

  2. There is no point to this research; there is no point to the overwhelming majority of research around the CFS topic. We have an illness whose severity can destroy any possibility of a near normal existence in young people and we have to wait 20-30 years for anyone to look inside a living box (A brain MRI study of chronic fatigue syndrome: evidence of brainstem dysfunction and altered homeostasis) to see if its actually working properly.

    1. It does make you wonder doesn’t it forthurst? Who are these scientists anyway?! Jees.

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