Chronic Fatigue

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a clinical condition of unknown cause that predominantly affects young adults, the majority of which are women, between the ages of 20-40.  It is characterized by incapacitating fatigue and a variety of other non-specific symptoms that are either persistent or reoccurring over at least 6 months.  A diagnosis of CFS is made in the absence of any other specifically identified medical or psychological cause. Common symptoms that tend to cluster with CFS include, headache, impaired memory and concentration, disrupted sleep and changes in mood.  As a result of this symptomology, CFS often leads to extended periods of physical and mental disability. 

The search for the cause of CFS has given rise to a number of theories that have a common immune-related theme including, a dysfunctional immune system, the persistence of infection or an aberrant response to infection, and autoimmunity.  While none of these theories has been proven, some individuals with CFS have shown improvement when treated with anti-viral medication or immune modulating drugs.  Thus, it is thought that CFS may have multiple causes and contributing factors.

ITI physician and investigator, Dr. Jose Montoya is leading a multidisciplinary team that is striving to identify and understand the cause of CFS.  Dr. Montoya has one of largest CFS cohorts in the country, and is merging systems-biology approaches with clinical assessment to provide insight into not only the etiology of CFS, but for developing new therapeutic strategies to alleviate morbidity in this population.

CFS related work

Stanford Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Initiative

An initiative dedicated to studying infection-associated chronic diseases. Learn More »

ITI Working Group

ME/CFS Initiative: Role of Infection and Immunity in the Development of Chronic Unexplained Illnesses

Research presentations
by Stanford or outside speakers take place during each meeting. More »

Our Faculty

Enteroviruses infect millions of people worldwide and can cause many different diseases from the common cold to meningitis to paralysis.