Chronic Fatigue Syndrome could be "human hibernation"

What’s the human version of hibernation? Turns out it isn’t hunkering down for the winter and committing to Netflix. It could be what's happening to people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

- What’s the human version of hibernation? Turns out it isn’t hunkering down for the winter and committing to Netflix.

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the bodies of people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may actually be in a kind of hibernation.

CFS can be debilitating and is often marked by long-term fatigue, pain, and memory loss. But the symptoms vary and doctors still don’t know the cause. It’s a mysterious syndrome- which is why the findings could be so helpful.

Patients with CFS were found to have lower levels of metabolites, the waste products of ordinary cell functions. The levels are strikingly similar to those found in hibernating animals, which indicates that the human bodies may have gone into “defensive mode” on a cellular level and then got stuck.

For bears, going into “power saving mode” helps them survive the harshest weather conditions. For humans, it seems a slowed metabolic rate only harms us.

According to the Washington Post, more researchers plan to collaborate to try to replicate the findings in a larger study. For now, it can help with diagnosing CFS and provides a target for possible treatments, that could help “wake up” the bodies of those who have it.

 

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