The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) today
announced new research awards totaling $1.9 million in first-year funding to
support three Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Cooperative Research Centers.
The centers will conduct broadly focused research addressing basic science,
clinical and epidemiological aspects of CFS, including its causes,
characteristics and treatment.
CFS is a puzzling disorder in which previously healthy adults or adolescents
develop severe unexplained fatigue that persists beyond six months, often in
association with a spectrum of additional complaints such as sleep
disorders, problems with mental concentration and memory, muscle and joint
aches, and tender lymph nodes. The condition was first recognized in the
early 1980s, but it remains unclear whether it is a new illness or only
newly appreciated. After nearly 20 years of national and international
research efforts, the cause or causes of CFS remain unknown.
NIAID established a CFS Research Centers program in 1991. The new four-year
awards will be made to the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark,
NJ, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Miami.
The Newark center, directed by Benjamin H. Natelson, M.D., and active since
the program's inception, has recently been attempting to characterize heart
and nervous system abnormalities in subsets of persons with CFS. The
University of Washington center, directed by Dedra Buchwald, M.D., will
receive its second centers award and will continue its examination of
identical and non-identical twins, including twin sets in which one twin has
CFS and one does not. Twin studies have been frequently used in medical
research of diseases of unknown cause to examine the relative contributions
of heredity and environmental factors. The Miami center, directed by Nancy
Klimas, M.D., is a new award and will focus on "cognitive-behavioral" stress
management therapy in persons with CFS. This line of research emphasizes
the importance to patients of managing symptoms even when their causes are
Each of the three centers will also conduct multifaceted projects in other
areas of CFS research, including small pilot projects designed to encourage
quick pursuit of new scientific leads, unexpected findings and innovative
Press releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available
on the NIAID web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.