Association for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

ME in the News - The Elusive Cause(s) of the Condition

ME isn’t a particularly attractive topic for the media, especially those focusing on the news. And when there is a story about ME in the media, it is almost always in relation to the controversies surrounding the condition and tragic outcomes of individual cases. Nevertheless, things are getting better and ME is getting more and more attention in the news media (though not as much as some other conditions) which seem particularly interested into scientific discoveries and findings in regard to the condition’s elusive causes.

Researchers Any Closer to Finding the Cause of ME

Several causes have been speculated to be responsible for ME ranging from psychological stress and immune system disorders to viral infections, with the latter gaining a lot of support in the international medical community. This is because the condition is often observed in individuals after a recent infection with viruses such as human herpes virus 6 and Epstein-Barr virus. However, the scientists haven’t managed to find conclusive evidence for viral infection as the cause of ME. What is more, some of the leading ME experts such as Frank van Kuppevald and Jos van der Meer reject viral infection as a possible ME cause.

Recent Evidence Suggests Viruses Not to Blame for ME

Van Kuppevald and van der Meer explained that the American study which found the presence of a rare virus in the bloodstream of nearly three quarters of ME sufferers created a lot of excitement both in the medical community and among ME patients. This is because as long as the cause remains unknown, treatment of ME will remain focused on alleviating symptoms rather than targeting the cause(s) which is the key for an eventual cure.

According to van Kuppevald and van der Meer, the latest studies on the alleged viral cause of ME have demonstrated that viruses are not responsible for the onset of the disease. According to the Dutch experts, the researchers didn’t only fail to confirm the viral cause theory but even found firm evidence that it is simply put false.

Other Suggested ME Causes

As mentioned earlier, several factors have been suggested as possible causes of ME but so far, the researchers haven’t managed to find conclusive evidence for any of the proposed causes. This has led to a widespread belief that the condition may not be caused by a single but rather a combination of multiple factors.