Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

The Japanese experience

Session 10

Yasuyoshi Watanabe (Osaka, Japan) gave a good overview of the Japanese development of anti-fatigue food and equipment. Animal and human studies were covered. They had developed scales for quantification of fatigue, and then tested a variety of products. Animal models were initially used to evaluate the effects of supplements, anti-oxidants and substances for energy. Many biological and physical measures were done. Various products were found to be of use. These included: 1) Applephenon—a polyphenol extract from unripe apples 2) Imidazole dipeptide (high in chicken breast and animal muscle) which has an antioxidant effect and is produced as a drink 3) Co-enzyme Q10 4) Epigallo catechin gallate 5) Crocetin (carotinoid dicarboxylic acid) from the crocus flower. Physical therapies found to be of use included mildstream bathing (a micro-bubble bath).  Animal therapy and music therapy were among other approaches found to be of use.

The relationship between fatigue and diet was covered by Hirohiko Kuratsune (Osaka, Japan). A 20-item questionnaire was administered to 131 female students, and they were then classified according to the fatigue score. It was found that students frequently missed breakfast and lunch. There was low calorie, fat and carbohydrate intake in the most fatigued. Very significant fatigue correlated with low rice, fish and omega 3 intake. Zinc, copper and magnesium, vitamins B-6 and B-12 were all low in the severely fatigued. Autonomic nervous system activity using HRV analysis was also studied in fatigued patients. A  relative sympathetic nerve dominance was associated with the fatigue state.

Chaos analysis was used to evaluate the fatigue state associated with labor, and discussed by Seiki Tajima (Osaka, Japan). Overwork is a big issue in Japan. Beverage factory workers were assessed using the Artett C system. Subjects were divided into 3 groups depending on fatigue level, and autonomic function was assessed. There was no significant difference in the 3 groups using analysis of maximum lyapunov exponent and correlation dimension analysis, and between low frequency and high frequency ratio (spectral analysis). This is the ratio between the sympathetic/parasympathetic systems. Further studies are needed to reveal differences from pathological and recoverable fatigue using these methods.

The pathophysiology of CFS in childhood in Japan was presented by Teruhisa Miike (Kobe, Japan). Japanese children are found to be often active till late at night, exposed to a lot of bright lighting and a hard daily schedule coupled with excessive information from TV, games, cell phones etc. Despite going to bed very late, children still need to get up early, and thus become sleep deprived. There is a breakdown in the body clock. They can then suddenly develop a hypersomnia type sleep disorder and childhood CFS. Long sleep gives no improvement, and many symptoms occur fitting the criteria for CFS. Activated enzyme depletion leads to mitochondrial dysfunction. There is decreased cerebral blood flow. There may also be increased risk of cancer. The aim should be to prevent this set of circumstances.

Notice about names

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently using ME/CFS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are calling the illness CFS.

Until there is consensus on a name for the illness, the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association name will not change.