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By NCF Medical Committee (copyright 2013)
Written request for reprinting

From Winter 2013-2014 Forum

On September 10th, 2013 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) held a CFS Patient-Centered Outreach and Communication Activity (PCOCA) conference call [1]. This meeting included recent updates from Elizabeth Unger, MD, PhD who is chief of the Chronic Viral Diseases Branch at the CDC. Also included was an expose on "Infection and Immunity in CFS" by W. Ian Lipkin, MD. Dr. Lipkin is a Professor and Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

During this meeting, Dr. Lipkin described his background and interests in CFIDS. He also stated his collaborations with known CFIDS clinicians that included Dr. Dan Peterson, Dr. Jose Montoya, Dr. Cindy Bateman, Dr. Nancy Klimas, Dr. Donna Felsenstein, Dr. Sue Levine and Dr. Tony Komaroff. Dr. Lipkin uses scientific methods that allows his group to detect genetic evidence of infection from a wide variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites. More than 500 CFIDS patient samples were tested by Lipkin.

Ultimately, according to Lipkin, "We found no evidence of infection with either PMLV or XMRV." Furthermore, Lipkin went on to say, "Now I will tell you from the outset that we have not implicated a single agent in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, nor have we discovered the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — I wish I had something different to report to you..."

Dr. Lipkin provided the following assessment for his efforts. He stated, "...samples were studied using high throughput sequencing, which is a method that was really pioneered here - with which we have discovered over 500 viruses — so we feel fairly confident that to the extent of the technology's capabilities at present, we would have detected everything that would have been present within these samples."

What Dr. Lipkin found to be of scientific interest was he saw changes in chemokines and cytokine profiles of patients. Other researchers had previously reported similiar findings. Chemokines are signaling proteins secreted by cells while cytokines are considered to be regulators of host responses to infection, immune responses, inflammation and trauma.

Years ago, Lipkin had identified polyclonal B-cell activation in CFIDS patient samples. The NCF finds this particularly interesting since low-level ionizing radiation induces polyclonal B-cell activation [2].

The NCF believes that Dr. Lipkin's research findings actually reinforce our scientific results to date indicating a profound role for ionizing radiation in CFIDS causation. This relationship has been previously identified by other global scientists.

For additional scientific papers regarding ionizing radiation exposure and CFIDS, please see the NCF's radiation page on our website [3].


1. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome meetings and workshops: Centers for Disease Control;

2. Effect of low doses of ionizing radiation on thymus-dependent humoral immune response and the polyclonal activation of B lymphocytes: Sharetskii( AN, Surinov BP, Abramova MR; Radiats Biol Radioecol, 2000 Mar-Apr;40(2):168-72.

3. National CFIDS Foundation's radiation webpage:

The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 *(781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606