Chronic fatigue: a new inflammatory disorder? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

This project focuses on the examination of a pool of existing scientific research to further the understanding of the role of physiological inflammation in chronic fatigue. More specifically the aim is to ascertain whether a meaningful relationship exists between CFS and systemic inflammation, and to identify any associated factors that may be also be important in this relationship (such as depressed mood). 

The relationship between inflammation and chronic fatigue has not yet been investigated at a meta-analytic level. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating illness, usually with a medically unexplained cause, which shares many similarities with major depression. The depression literature shows an established relationship between people with high levels of inflammation and major depression, even suggesting that inflammation may possess a causal role in the illness and may normalise alongside recovery. There are a range of rationales supporting this being a shared phenomenon with individuals suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, and there have been indications that CFS is associated with elevated inflammation, but until recently this has been insufficiently studied.

Particularly if this relationship is demonstrated, further exploration of this research path will enhance our understanding of contributors to the development and maintenance of chronic fatigue, which will facilitate translational research identifying potentially helpful interventions to prevent, diagnose and treat these symptoms.