TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts | 15 May 2015

May 15, 2015

From the International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, May 2015 (open access journal).

A Cross Cultural Comparison of Disability and Symptomatology Associated with CFS

Maria Zdunek(1), Leonard A. Jason(1), Meredyth Evans(1), Rachel Jantke(1), Julia L. Newton(2)
1) Center for Community Research, DePaul University, Chicago, USA
2)Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Correspondence to: Maria Zdunek, Center for Community Research, DePaul University, Chicago, USA.


Few studies have compared symptomatology and functional differences experienced by patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) across cultures. The current study compared patients with CFS from the United States (US) to those from the United Kingdom (UK) across areas of functioning, symptomatology, and illness onset characteristics.

Individuals in each sample met criteria for CFS as defined by Fukuda et al. (1994). These samples were compared on two measures of disability and impairment, the DePaul Symptom Questionnarie (DSQ) and the Medical outcomes study 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36).

Results revealed that the UK sample was significantly more impaired in terms of mental health and role emotional functioning, as well as specific symptoms of pain, neurocognitive difficulties, and immune manifestations. In addition, the UK sample was more likely to be working rather than on disability.

Individuals in the US sample reported more difficulties falling asleep, more frequently reported experiencing a sudden illness onset (within 24 hours), and more often reported that the cause of illness was primarily due to physical causes.

These findings suggest that there may be important differences in illness characteristics across individuals with CFS in the US and the UK, and this has implications for the comparability of research findings across these two countries.

From the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, published online 6 May 2015.

Defining Essential Features of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Leonard A. Jason, Madison Sunnquist, Abigail Brown and Jordan Reed
Center for Community Research, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA


Considerable debate surrounds the search for the defining features of patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Current case definitions were created through clinical consensus. Failure to operationalize these case definitions has led to considerable variability in the identification of patients. In addition, some case definitions do not require cardinal symptoms of this illness, whereas other case definitions do require core symptoms of this illness, and these latter case criteria appear to identify a more impaired group of patients.

Criterion variance is most likely to occur when operationally explicit criteria do not exist for diagnostic categories, or when there are varying criteria for contrasting case definitions, which is an impediment to the research in this field. To deal with this problem, it is possible to differentiate those that meet more loosely defined criteria from those that are more narrowly and defined, thus differentiating CFS from ME.

In order to progress the search for biological markers and effective treatments, essential features need to be operationalized and broadly used to increase the probability that individuals included in samples have the same underlying illness.

From the Journal of Health Psychology, 8 May 2015. E-published before print.

Working with uncertainty: A grounded theory study of health-care professionals' experiences of working with children and adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome

Megan R Marks(1), Jaci C Huws(2,*), Liz Whitehead(1)
1) Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, UK
2_ Bangor University, UK


This grounded theory study explores conceptualisations of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis from semi-structured interviews with 10 health-care professionals working with children and adolescents.

The findings suggest that a lack of a clear empirical understanding of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis leads to ‘working with uncertainty', whereby health-care professionals utilise previous experiences to make sense of the condition and inform
their clinical practice.

How health-care professionals make sense of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis may influence the labels given to young people and the interventions they receive. The findings provide insight into a currently understudied area, and
highlight potential avenues for further research and clinical practice.

From Immunology and Immunogenetics Insights, 10 May 2015.

Examination of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) Ion Channels in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients

Sonya M. Marshall-Gradisnik(1,2), Peter Smith(2), Ekua W. Brenu(1,2), Bernd Nilius(3), Sandra B. Ramos(1,2) and Donald R. Staines(2).
1) School of Medical Science,
2) The National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.
3) Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Laboratory of Ion Channel Research, KU Leuven, Belgium.



The transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily in humans comprises 27 cation channels with permeability to monovalent and divalent cations. These channels are widely expressed within
humans on cells and tissues and have significant sensory and regulatory roles on most physiological functions. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an unexplained disorder with multiple physiological impairments.


The purpose of this study was to determine the role of TRPs in CFS.


The study comprised 115 CFS patients (age = 48.68 ± 1.06 years) and 90 nonfatigued controls (age = 46.48 ± 1.22 years). CFS patients were defined according to the 1994 Center for Disease
Prevention and Control criteria for CFS. A total of 240 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for 21 mammalian TRP ion channel genes (TRPA1, TRPC1, TRPC2, TRPC3, TRPC4, TRPC6, TRPC7, TRPM1, TRPM2, TRPM3, TRPM4, TRPM5, TRPM6, TRPM7, TRPM8, TRPV1, TRPV2, TRPV3, TRPV4, TRPV5, and TRPV6) were examined via the Agena Biosciences iPLEX Gold assay. Statistical analysis was performed using the PLINK analysis software.


Thirteen SNPs were significantly associated with CFS patients compared with the controls. Nine of these SNPs were associated with TRPM3 (rs12682832; P ≤ 0.003, rs11142508; P < 0.004, rs1160742; P < 0.08, rs4454352; P ≤ 0.013, rs1328153; P ≤ 0.013, rs3763619; P ≤ 0.014, rs7865858; P ≤ 0.021, rs1504401; P ≤ 0041, rs10115622; P ≤ 0.050), while the remainder were associated with TRPA1 (rs2383844; P ≤ 0.040, rs4738202; P ≤ 0.018) and TRPC4 (rs6650469; P ≤ 0.016, rs655207; P ≤ 0.018).CONCLUSIONThe data from this pilot study suggest an associationbetween TRP ion channels, predominantly TRPM3 and CFS. This and other TRPs identified may contribute to the etiology and pathomechanism of CFS.

Shopping Basket