Girl in laboratory

Is there a laboratory test for ME/CFS?

A laboratory test for ME/CFS

I’m analytical by nature, so Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) figuratively and quite possibly physiologically ‘messes with my head’. I want to understand the mechanics of what's going wrong with my system to cause so many symptoms. Furthermore, I want scientifically defendables evidence of these malfunctions. Unfortunately at the time of writing, there is no diagnostic laboratory test for ME/CFS. 

Unfortunately the lack of a simple test doesn't surprise me. ME/CFS is a complex disease which seems to affect multiple systems. Trying to make the complex simple has always been a challenge. I do live in hope and I stay across the latest research when I have time.   I particularly take notice of research that resonates with my personal, lived experience of ME/CFS.

Saline Infusions, and food intolerances

Today I received an email from Open Medicine Foundation, Canada titled “Unlocking New Insights: Food and Saline Infusions in ME/CFS Research” that got my attention. It contained a link to a recent podcast from Chris Armstrong and David Fineberg of Melbourne University, Australia. They are highlighting research about to begin using Saline Solution for short term therapy for ME/CFS and also testing responses to certain food groups, including Oats. 

I’m interested in this work, as the things they are testing, appeared to impact my ME/CFS symptoms.  When I was very unwell, I would shake uncontrollably with the effort of doing anything. Holding my phone during a brief call, would cause my arm muscles to spasm and standing at the kitchen bench would send my calf muscles into cramps. I also found it incredibly difficult to stand in a queue without feeling like fainting.

When these episodes occurred, I thought the solution was to eat. I assumed something filling and stodgy would work. My hypothesis was that my muscles were screaming out for sustenance. This may well have been the case, but perhaps my solution was wrong.  

If I ate a bowl full of porridge or a large sandwich to try and counter the symptoms, I would perk up for about 30 minutes and then slide straight back to where I started from.  I kept repeating this experiment, sample size n=1 (as in just me), hoping for a different outcome.  Unfortunately I got I kept achieving the same result.

My experiment from sample size n=1

After continuous episodes of this, I wondered if the food I was resorting to was adding another load to systems that were already under pressure. Low GI food is supposed to be better for us, but perhaps for someone with ME/CFS, the effort to access the nutrients in this type of food, was adding another burden to an already overwhelmed system. 

So, instead I repeated my experiment, but I altered my solution.  I started my day with a smoothie,  followed with a healthy portion of protein.  I also started adding pure electrolytes to my water intake and cut out all wheat.  

Wierdly, I feel like I tripped over what David and Chris are just testing. I'm looking forward to seeing their results from well controlled science and with a much greater sample size than my indefensible sample size of n=1.

Sall Cox | Founder Coppered Co.
Together we can fund a cure for ME/CFS


Sally Cox | Founder Copperednz