Phoenix Rising - Cort Johnson's Column
...Presenting complex chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) research in a way we can all understand.
Sleep Problems in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
by Cort Johnson
(Research from the IACFS/ME Conference 2009)
Sleep Patterns in CFS Patients and the Immunomodulatory Effects of Sodium Oxybate in Patients with Alpha Intrusion. N. Hone, L. Garcia, M Vera, N Chediak, M Fletcher and N. Klimas.
Dr. Klimas is a big fan of sleep studies – she believes that virtually everyone who can get one should – (but be sure to get the right kind of sleep study!) and here, in a pretty nice sized study (61 patients), we got a good look at the sleep problems present in chronic fatigue syndrome. One problem sleep researchers seem to be focusing in on is called ‘alpha intrusion’. Alpha intrusions refer to an intrusive kind of brain wave pattern that shows up in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and sometimes sleep apnea patients that interferes with deep sleep. The study looked for alpha intrusions and various other sleep maladies.
Alpha intrusions showed up in spades with 80% of patients displaying them. But that wasn’t the only problem; almost 50% of patients had obstructive sleep apnea and 25% had restless leg syndrome. Men had particularly high rates of alpha intrusions; about 50% higher than was seen in women.
In the image [below] the alpha intrusions are on the bottom. Note how prevalent they are in the last two patients.
Dr. Hone, who is based in Mexico City used sodium oxybate (xyrem) to treat the alpha intrusions in 27 patients. She reported that almost all reported improvement in their sleep, what Dr. Hone called Unfortunately no quantitative data was given and it’s unclear just how strong that effect was but Dr. Hone characterized xyrem has having ‘a high impact in the clinical improvement of sleep’.
Conclusion: The morale of this study was that treatable sleep disorders of one sort or another are rife in ME/CFS and that sodium oxybate may be helpful in treating a very common sleep ailment.
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