Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a clinically defined condition characterized by severe disabling fatigue and a combination of symptoms including disturbance in concentration and loss of short-term memory, disturbed sleep, and musculoskeletal pain.
Since there is no accepted means of diagnosis by pathological tests such as blood or urine analysis, the standard diagnostic protocol of CFS/ME used at present within the NHS is one of exclusion. In other words the patient will only be diagnosed as suffering from CFS/ME when all other possible diagnostic tests have proved negative. This is not an adequate way of diagnosing any disease and causes much distress among patients who often have many exhaustive tests that still do not give any answer.
A new research project is soon to begin at Wrigthington Hospital, Wigan based on a chance discovery in 1989 by osteopath and neuroscientist Dr Raymond Perrin who revealed a possible association between certain biophysical dysfunctions and the incidence of CFS/ME. The concept of CFS/ME being primarily a physical disorder is foreign to most of the medical profession. However, many of them recognise that CFS/ME has physical symptoms.
Dr Perrin, the principal investigator for the research project has observed repeated patterns of physical signs among sufferers that cannot be dismissed as pure coincidence. The project “Examining the accuracy of a physical diagnostic technique For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis” has received ethical approval from the NHS and is being conducted by a team at the Allied Health Professions unit at The University of Central Lancashire, Preston in association with 3 NHS Trusts.
Dr Perrin presented evidence to support his work in San Francisco this March at the biennial conference of The International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (IACFS/ME), attracting interest from many of the 400 professionals from around the world. The scientific community are tantalizingly close to gaining an understanding of CFS/ME.
If an evidence-based bio-physical diagnostic procedure was introduced at the earliest onset of some of the symptoms associated with CFS/ME then it could lead to a much speedier diagnosis. They would also be in a position to commence any management of the illness far earlier than the present protocol which in some regions takes at least six months before referral to an NHS specialist unit and at least a further month of blood tests.
Thus if an aid to diagnosis was developed with identifiable positive physical signs rather than the negative exclusion, it would be much more preferable clinically. It would also reduce the huge financial burden placed on the health service by reducing the need of some of the pathological tests carried out at present.
For further information on the research and Perrin Technique see: www.theperrinclinic.com or contact Robin Kiashek 020 8815 0979 www.robinkiashek.co.uk; The Twyford Practice, 52 Twyford Ave, N2 9NL