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Brain link in chronic fatigue

6th March 2006

Brain injuries caused by the onset of glandular fever could bring on some cases of chronic fatigue syndrome, according to new research.

A report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases claims that one in ten sufferers of glandular fever may experience lengthy symptoms, including fatigue, caused by a "hit-and-run injury to the brain".

If the symptoms persist for longer than half a year, a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome can be made.

Scientists from the University of New South Wales have been tracing the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes glandular fever, for the past seven years.

"We believe that the parts of the brain that control perception of fatigue and pain get damaged during the acute infection phase of glandular fever," said Professor Andrew Lloyd.

"If you're still sick several weeks after infection, it seems that the symptoms aren't being driven by the activity of the virus in body, it's happening in the brain."

The scientists are now heading back to the labs to conduct further neurological tests.