TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts | 11 March 2016

March 11, 2016

From the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, published online on 18 February 2016.

Physical effects of a reconditioning programme in a group of chronic fatigue syndrome patients.

Guillamó E, Barbany JR, Blazquez A, Delicado MC, Ventura-Farré JL, Javierre C.
Department of Physiological Sciences II, Exercise Physiology Unit, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain –​



Physical exercise can be part of treatment in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), where the aim would be to improve strength and endurance through increasing physical exercise (intensity and time) without aggravating symptomatology. The present study examines the effectiveness of a reconditioning programme (focusing on strength, endurance, balance and propioception) for achieving maximum functional capacity according to the clinical status of CFS patients.


Sixty-eight patients with CFS were randomly assigned to two groups: a control group (CG) comprising 22 patients and an active group (AG) of 46 patients, the latter being invited to take part in a functional reconditioning programme based on 12 weeks of laboratory training followed by a further 12-week home training period. Functional assessments were as follows: before (I) and after (II) the laboratory training and after (III) the home training.


In the AG, 22 patients (67%) completed the intervention (laboratory) stage and 20 finished the whole protocol (61%). Patients in the AG showed improved static and dynamic balance, as well as significantly greater maximum strength (F=7.059, p<0.05). Differences in resistance strength were also observed, with the AG showing a 19.9% improvement between functional assessments I and II (p=0.04). We don't found changes in the CG.CONCLUSIONA physical exercise programme of this kind might offer CFS patients the opportunity to improve their strength, balance and quality of life, there being only a very small risk of relapse and none of the adverse effects of other treatments.

From BMC Immunology, 10 March 2016 (open access journal).

Illness progression in chronic fatigue syndrome: a shifting immune baseline

Lindsey Russell(1,†), Gordon Broderick(1,2,3,†), Renee Taylor(4), Henrique Fernandes(1), Jeanna Harvey (2,5), Zachary Barnes(1,2,3), AnneLiese Smylie(1), Fanny Collado(2), Elizabeth G. Balbin(1), Ben Z. Katz(6), Nancy G. Klimas (2,3) and Mary Ann Fletcher (2,3).
†) Contributed equally to study.
1) Department of Medicine, University of Alberta
2) Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center
3) Institute for Neuro-immune Medicine, Nova Southeastern University
4) Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago
5) Department of Medicine, University of Miami
6) Division of Infectious Diseases, Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago



Validation of biomarkers for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) across data sets has proven disappointing. As immune signature may be affected by many factors, our objective was to explore the shift in discriminatory cytokines across ME/CFS subjects separated by duration of illness.


Cytokine expression collected at rest across multiple studies for female ME/CFS subjects (i) 18 years or younger, ill for 2 years or less (n = 18), (ii) 18–50 years of age, ill for 7 years (n = 22), and (iii) age 50 years or older (n = 28), ill for 11 years on average. Control subjects were matched for age and body mass index (BMI). Data describing the levels of 16 cytokines using a chemiluminescent assay was used to support the identification of separate linear classification models for each subgroup. In order to isolate the effects of duration of illness alone, cytokines that changed significantly with age in the healthy control subjects were excluded a priori.


Optimal selection of cytokines in each group resulted in subsets of IL-1α, 6, 8, 15 and TNFα. Common to any 2 of 3 groups were IL-1α, 6 and 8. Setting these 3 markers as a triple screen and adjusting their contribution according to illness duration sub-groups produced ME/CFS classification accuracies of 75–88 %. The contribution of IL-1α, higher in recently ill adolescent ME/CFS subjects was progressively less important with duration. While high levels of IL-8 screened positive for ME/CFS in the recently afflicted, the opposite was true for subjects ill for more than 2 years. Similarly, while low levels of IL-6 suggested early ME/CFS, the reverse was true in subjects over 18 years of age ill for more than 2 years.


These preliminary results suggest that IL-1α, 6 and 8 adjusted for illness duration may serve as robust biomarkers, independent of age, in screening for ME/CFS.

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