A team of Norwegian researchers headed by Deputy Director and Professor Carmen Scheibenbogen of the Institute of Medical Immunology, at Berlin Charité University Hospital, had their first Chronic Fatigue Syndrome breakthrough treatment using an anti-cancer agent rituximab. This trial study was published on Oct. 19, 2011, in PLoS ONE scientific journal and is promising news for the 300,000 people who suffer from this disease in Germany.
In a new study conducted at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, the 30 patients, who were randomly selected, were given rituximab developed for lymph gland cancer chemotherapy. Two-thirds of these patients observed over twelve months showed an improvement in health condition.
Approximately one million people in the US suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. For several years, CFS was not recognized by doctors as a regular diagnosis, but today it is becoming more commonplace and strikes more people than those afflicted with multiple sclerosis, lupus and a number of forms of cancer.
Although people of either sex or age can develop CFS, it occurs four times more in women than men in their 40s and 50s. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is less common in children and occurs in all racial and ethnic groups and countries around the world and there may be a genetic link.
Researchers found carers are often not told how best to support patients or where they can turn for practical or emotional support (picture posed by models).
When Fiona O’Kelly’s widowed mum was diagnosed with leukaemia two years ago, her life changed overnight. “It’s like our roles suddenly flipped,” she recalls. “Mum used to help me look after my two boys but now I look after her. She was independent up to then but her cancer and the treatment have left her frail and affected her memory.
“There are times when I think I can’t cope but I know staying in her own home and being cared for by family is the best thing for Mum.”
O’Kelly, whose sons are 10 and 16, negotiated a year off work following the diagnosis, and has since dropped her hours from four to two days a week. Her husband has also changed his working hours to minimise childcare costs.
We are a free peer support community offering help for carers and support with others who find themselves in the caring role. There is no need to feel isolated or afraid of the internet, as we are all there to support carers, and past carers, whether the problems be with benefits, disability, care of the elderly or children. Our 24 hour chat room is there for fun and support and we have an arcade with over 600 free games, a carers discussion board and a free daily carers newspaper.