Hypermobility of the Joints May Be the First Sign of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Doctors find that 60% of the children with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have at least 4 uncommonly flexible joints

 
A group of doctors from Johns Hopkins Children's Center state that uncommonly flexible joints may be one of the earliest predictors of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The syndrome has been acknowledged as a medical condition for more than 20 years and, it still has no exact causes, and there is no medication known for sure to treat the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Sleep and resting disorders are not just trivial problems we encounter when we are stressed or worried about something. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a severe condition that may become very uncomfortable for the affected ones. However, high rates of this very uncomfortable syndrome have been registered recently, as we live in a maximum speed century in which appropriate rest and sleep are the last things we think and worry about. Instead, we prefer living on supplements that promise to instantly boost our memory and concentration.

Medical studies were carried out on CFS, searching to establish the causes that lead to such chronic sleep disorders. They showed that the actual cause of CFS remains unknown. Nevertheless, disorders in the immune, endocrine and nervous systems and genetic and environmental factors are considered to be the possible causes that lead to chronic fatigue. The interactions among all these factors are being under trial in scientific researches all over the world.

Even if the syndrome is usually connected with stress, depression or other emotional disorders, experts state that depression and related illnesses do not lead to CFS. But they admit that most of the times, depression and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome coexist in an individual and they also share some of the symptoms.

However, the Johns Hopkins Children's Center experts found that 60% of the 60 children they treated for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome presented hyperflexibility in at least four of their joints. This is how they reached the conclusion that the particular syndrome may be announced by an uncommon flexibility in more of their joints.

Dr. Peter Rowe, a professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Center who was involved in the study commented: "It was a surprise. Some of the kids would be able to put their leg behind their head in a seated position. Others could do the splits. Once we saw this over and over, we thought it was something that needed more study."

Dr. Rowe also added that further studies should be conducted on adults who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and find out if they also present uncommon flexibility of joints. He also plans to see if the hyperflexibility of joints is more popular among children or adults with the syndrome.

On the other hand, Leonard Jason, director of the Center for Community Research at DePaul University in Chicago found the study to be very interesting and stated that it "could ultimately lead to us understanding the physiology of this condition." He also noted the fact that the research could be considered as a breakthrough in the field, as people who suffered from the particular syndrome used to be considered as stigmatized in the past.

"In the past, you had a tremendous amount of skepticism about the syndrome, which created a certain amount of stigma for people who have it," Dr. Jason commented. Shedding light on the subject of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and tracking down some of the earliest physical signs of the condition may bring about a new way to look at it.

He also added that further studies should not focus only on the prevalence of hyperflexibility of the joints among adults with the syndrome. Studies should also consider genetic factors involved in the condition: "I think there may be some genetic factors. We really should look at the parents. There could very well be a number of things passed on that make kids more prone to the syndrome."

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By    4 Sep 2006, 08:18 GMT