Chronic fatigue syndrome affects between one and four million Americans and is a common condition that can lead to the granting of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. People affected by chronic fatigue syndrome can experience memory and concentration problems as well as severe pain and fatigue that makes it difficult to work.
In situations where a person is unable to work because of the crippling impact of chronic fatigue syndrome, that person may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or for Supplemental Security Income benefits. These Social Security programs can help an individual obtain medical help for their condition and lessen the financial stress of a disability.
Currently, chronic fatigue syndrome is diagnosed through eliminating other possible conditions, The Wall Street Journal reports. Research into the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome recently received a push when the journal Science published a study that linked chronic fatigue syndrome to the retrovirus XMRV. Apparently the retrovirus was present in most chronic fatigue syndrome patients in the study, but there is a fierce debate as to whether this was because of contamination.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is just one of many diseases that were previously thought to be made up until a biological cause was found, The Wall Street Journal reports. Previously, multiple sclerosis was attributed to hysteria or alcoholism. Even stomach ulcers were attributed to stress until two Australian scientists linked stomach ulcers to the bacteria Helicobacter pylori.
Research also continues into possible cures for chronic fatigue syndrome, including one Stanford researcher who is looking for infectious properties of chronic fatigue syndrome. “If we can find the infectious triggers, we can provide intervention,” he said.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Unlocking Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” 3/22/11