Identifying the biomarkers of fatigue, learning to live with subjective clinical data, or, how tired are we anyway

by Katherine James

16:00 (40 min) in CT 7.01

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disabling condition that can seriously affect quality of life. However, fatigue is difficult to consistently diagnose and quantify, making its study non-trivial. The multisystem autoimmune disease primary Sjögren’s Syndrome (pSS) is a promising model for fatigue, and can be used to investigate the biological mechanisms of fatigue using a number of different approaches. My current research aims to compare the global gene expression profiles of whole blood from pSS patients who are discordant for fatigue. However, fatigue is hard to define. While medical tests can identify some underlying causes of fatigue, such as autoimmune disorders, they cannot identify fatigue itself. Consequently, fatigue diagnoses rely on subjective, patient-reported measures commonly formatted as questionnaires.

In this seminar, I’ll briefly summarise the fatigue project to date, before discussing the difficulties of working with subjective data and the challenges a multi-centre clinical study presents. Finally, we will answer an important question; just how tired is the ICOS group anyway?