CFS Press Releases by CDC & CAA
by CDC Media Relations
The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) Launches
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome “Get Informed.
Get Diagnosed. Get Help”
Nov 3, 2006
For Immediate Release
CDC Division of Media Relations: 404-639-3286
Fleishman Hillard, Mike Greenwell: 404-739-0155
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Launches
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome “Get Informed. Get Diagnosed. Get Help” Awareness Campaign
Who: Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC); Anthony Komaroff, MD, Harvard Medical School;
Nancy Klimas, MD, practicing physician; and representatives from the
Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Association of America.
What: The CDC will be launching a new national public awareness and education campaign for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Why: Of the Americans with CFS, only 20% have been diagnosed. The CDC
considers CFS to be a major public health concern and has committed to
research that will lead to earlier diagnosis and better treatment of
Where: The National Press Club 529 14th Street, NW The Holeman Lounge
Washington, DC 20045 Those wishing to participate by phone may call
888- 343- 2169
When: November 3, 2006 10:00-11:00 a.m.
About the CDC: The CDC is one of the 13 major operating components of
the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is the
principal agency in the United States government for protecting the
health and safety of all Americans and for providing essential human
CFS Computational Challenge Leads to Bounty of Papers and Findings
CDC’s Large-Scale Study of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Points to Underlying Factors, Illness Subtypes
The CFIDS Association of America, Inc.
Working to conquer chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome
PO Box 220398 ♦ CHARLOTTE, NC 28222 ♦
PH: 704-365-2343 ♦ FAX: 704-365-9755 ♦ WEB: WWW.CFIDS.ORG
April 19, 2006
The April issue of the journal Pharmacogenomics includes a special section on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), 14 papers authored by experts in diverse fields of medicine, molecular chemistry, epidemiology, genomics, math, engineering and physics. Four multidisciplinary teams led by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed a large data set from clinical and laboratory experiments involving 227 subjects.
This intense effort, called the “CFS Computational Challenge” or C3, set out to identify factors that potentially cause or are related to CFS. The CDC provided the four teams with information that included extensive clinical evaluations, formal sleep laboratory analysis, tests on the blood, and data from the activity of 20,000 genes. They reported their preliminary findings in September 2005 and have continued working to refine them and publish this set of papers.
One of the teams linked CFS with high allostatic load, a term used to describe cumulative wear on the body resulting from chronic or inadequate adaptation to change. “The outcomes of this study demonstrate that the physiology of people with CFS is not able to adapt to the many challenges and stressors encountered throughout life, such as infection, injury and other adverse childhood events.” said Dr. William C. Reeves, who heads CDC’s CFS research program. “This study also suggests that the pathophysiology of CFS involves hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis dysfunction.”
The scientists also showed that CFS is quite heterogeneous and encompasses a number of clinically distinct illnesses, each including disabling fatigue. The mechanisms that cause the fatigue in the different CFS groups appear to involve the brain, hormones and the immune system. Data show genetic changes in the glucocorticoid receptor gene and genes related to sympathetic nervous system activity. Research also suggests that the blood cells in people with CFS behave differently, for example, by having a different immune response. According to Dr. Reeves, “These are important findings because they will help to focus our research efforts to identify more effective treatments which ultimately could help alleviate a lot pain and suffering.”
CDC’s Dr. Suzanne Vernon developed the concept for C3. “We challenged the teams to develop ways to integrate and analyze a wide range of medical data so as to identify those things that could improve the diagnosis, treatment or understanding of CFS,” Dr. Vernon said. “There is a clear biologic basis for CFS and knowing these ‘molecular lesions’ will help us devise effective therapeutic intervention and control strategies.” Dr. Vernon oversees the CDC’s CFS Molecular Epidemiology Program.
More than a million people in the U.S. have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a debilitating disease that has no cure, can last for many years, and packs a tremendous personal, social and economic toll -- $9 billion a year to the nation and $20,000 per family. It is characterized by severe exhaustion, widespread musculoskeletal pain, cognitive impairments, sleep disturbances and post-exertional relapse of symptoms. CFS occurs most frequently in women ages 40-60 and is as disabling as multiple sclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. After nearly 20 years of research, the cause of CFS is not known and treatment is still focused on symptom relief to improve function and quality of life.
The team-driven data analysis was modeled after Duke University’s Critical Assessment of Microarray Data Analysis (CAMDA), an annual challenge that employs cutting-edge data mining techniques to examine multivariate data sets. The 2006 CAMDA Challenge will also use the CDC’s CFS data set. Teams will meet at Duke on June 7-8, 2006 to share their findings.
# # #
The CFIDS Association of America is the nation’s largest and most active organization dedicated to conquering CFS, also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome or CFIDS. The CFIDS Association of America co-sponsored the September 2005 meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where the teams first presented their analyses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the principal agency in the United States government for protecting the health and safety of all Americans and for providing essential human services, especially for those people who are least able to help themselves. CDC began studying CFS in the late 1980s.
The journal Pharmacogenomics is a peer-reviewed journal presenting reviews and reports by the researchers and decision-makers closely involved in this rapidly developing area of science. Key objectives are to provide the community with an essential resource for keeping abreast of the latest developments in all areas of this exciting field.
# # #
For more information about chronic fatigue syndrome, visit www.cfids.org.
For additional information about the CFS Computational Challenge, including a list of participants, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cfs/meetings/2005_09.htm
For a list of articles in the April issue of Pharmacogenomics visit
For more information about CAMDA, visit http://www.camda.duke.edu/
Genetic and Environmental Factors Impact CFS Patients
For Immediate Release
April 20, 2006 Contact: CDC Media Relations
People who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have a genetic
make up that affects the body's ability to adapt to change, according
to a series of papers released today by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC). These papers, which analyze the most detailed and
comprehensive clinical study on CFS to date, are published in the April
issue of Pharmacogenomics.
Over the past year, CDC scientists have worked with experts in
medicine, molecular biology, epidemiology, genomics, mathematics,
engineering, and physics to analyze and interpret information gathered
from 227 CFS patients. The information was gathered during a study in
which volunteers spent two days in a hospital research ward. During
this time, they underwent detailed clinical evaluations, measurement of
sleep physiology, cognitive function, autonomic nervous system
function, and extensive blood evaluations, including an assessment of
the activity of 20,000 genes, in an attempt to identify factors that
potentially cause or are related to CFS.
"This study demonstrates that the physiology of people with CFS is not
able to adapt to the many challenges and stresses encountered
throughout life, such as infection, injury and other adverse events
during life," said Dr. William C Reeves, who heads CDC's CFS public
health research program. "These findings are important because they
will help to focus our research efforts to identify diagnostic tools
and more effective treatments which ultimately could alleviate a lot of
pain and suffering."
The multidisciplinary approach to this study, which has been termed C3
or the CFS Computational Challenge, was developed by the CDC's Dr.
Suzanne Vernon, Molecular Epidemiology Team Leader for the CFS Research
Laboratory. It is an approach that could lead to advances with other
diseases and disorders. "We put together four teams of different
experts and challenged them to develop ways to integrate and analyze a
wide range of medical data so as to identify those things that could
improve the diagnosis, treatment, or understanding of CFS," Dr. Vernon
said. "There is a clear biologic basis for CFS, and knowing the
molecular damage involved will help us devise effective therapeutic
intervention and control strategies."
It's estimated that over one million people in the United States alone
are sick with CFS. The condition takes a tremendous personal and social
toll - approximately $9 billion a year to the nation and $20,000 per
family. It occurs most frequently in women ages 40-60 and can be as
disabling as multiple sclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary
The CDC is the principal agency in the United States for protecting the
health and safety of all Americans. CDC is promoting CFS awareness
through a national media and education campaign set to kick off later
The April issue of Pharmacogenomics, published by Future Medicine,
includes 14 research papers, the culmination of C3. The journal
Pharmacogenomics is dedicated to the rapid publication of original
research on basic pharmacogenomics research and its clinical
applications. Published eight times a year, the journal covers the
effects of genetic variablity on drug toxicity and efficacy, the
characterization of genetic mutations relevant to drug action, and the
identification of novel genomic targets for drug development.
For additional information about the CFS Computational Challenge,
including a list of participants, visit
For additional information about CFS visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cfs/
For a list of articles in the April issue of Pharmacogenomics visit
Updated February 25, 2007