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Cerebrospinal fluid markers in ME – a video primer

After the debacle that was P2P, here’s a timely reminder of what ME research can be about.

This is the second in a series of slick video productions by SuddenOnset, focusing on the landmark scientific research studies for ME/cfs. (More on the first video, about the Light (2012)1 exercise study, can be found in shout out about ME’s video library. It’s also compulsory viewing.)

See Also

I was tempted to preface the title to this article with ‘Video for dummies’, not because the video is simplistic, but because it is so well produced that, despite the complexities of the subject matter, even I could understand it.

The video dramatically conveys the mechanics, intent, and possibilities of the Schutzer (2011)2 study, which identified differences in the type and quantity of proteins found in the spinal fluid of ME/CFS and chronic Lyme patients, as well as controls.

Underlining the significance of the findings, Schutzer et al said, “…there is a physical root cause, or effect, to this disease. It’s not imagined.

“Our results support the concept that CFS and nPTLS are distinguishable disorders with distinct CSF [CerebroSpinal Fluid] proteomes, where one can be separated from the other. The results also demonstrate that each condition has a multitude of candidate diagnostic biomarkers for future validation and optimization studies.

“With respect to biomarkers, we believe our proteomic strategy, that did not require prior knowledge of which proteins might be present in the CSF, will accelerate the transition from a discovery phase of candidate biomarkers, as described in this study, to full validation for clinical application.”

Optimistic musings, because we haven’t heard much more about this work – but that’s another story.

Both of the SuddenOnset videos highlight landmark ME biological findings so simply and succinctly that they could be considered useful instruction tools for newbies or, as in my case, refreshers on the important scientific milestones that many long suffering patients have probably forgotten.

God knows, after the debacle that was P2P, we need those reminders.

Thank you, SuddenOnset, whoever you are.

Further Reading

  • Baraniuk JN, Casado B, Maibach H, Clauw DJ, Pannell LK, Hess S S. A chronic fatigue syndrome – related proteome in human cerebrospinal fluid. BMC Neurology 2005;5:22. doi:10.1186/1471-2377-5-22. [Full Paper]
  • The CBS Evening News, 2011, Study finds 738 proteins in CFS patients spinal fluid, [Youtube]

Handy Resources

  • ME/cfs: The Scientific Evidence – Episode 2 – “PROTEOME” – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, [Youtube]
  • “ME/CFS – The Scientific Evidence” – Ep. 1 “Biomarker” – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, [Youtube]


  1. Light, A. R., Bateman, L., Jo, D., Hughen, R. W., VanHaitsma, T. A., White, A. T. and Light, K. C. (2012), Gene expression alterations at baseline and following moderate exercise in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Journal of Internal Medicine, 271: 64–81. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02405.x, [Full Paper] []
  2. Schutzer SE, Angel TE, Liu T, Schepmoes AA, Clauss TR, et al. (2011) Distinct Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteomes Differentiate Post-Treatment Lyme Disease from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. PLoS ONE 6(2): e17287. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017287, [Full Paper] []

Written by Russell Logan


Russell Logan worked as a magazine publisher and editor until forced into early retirement through ill health with ME. He has battled with moderate to severe ME for 25 years. He now lives in Noosaville, Australia.

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