Experts are hailing a major breakthrough in the diagnosis of an exhausting medical condition - and Wigan has played a key role.
New research published in in the revered publication BMJ Open, has demonstrated that a simple, physical examination centred around the presence of five symptoms (known as The Perrin Technique), is quicker and more accurate at aiding the diagnosis of chronic fatigure syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis than current methods.
Doctors say the finding could transform the way in which patients are assessed for the condition and diagnosed.
Dr Raymond Perrin, the lead clinician and researcher for the Perrin Technique, recently completed the project at Wrightington Hospital.
The research, carried out in conjunction with Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), also aim is to reduce the amount of toxins which become trapped in the fluid around the brain and the spinal cord.
CFS is a clinically defined condition characterized by severe disabling fatigue and a combination of symptoms including disturbance in concentration and loss of short-term memory, disturbed sleep, and musculoskeletal pain.
Since there is no accepted means of diagnosis by blood or urine tests, doctors tend to diagnose just by means of exclusion, when there is no other explanation.
Until now no accepted clinical signs or diagnostic tests for this condition have been produced from scientific studies.
As a result, clinicians must decide how long to keep looking for alternative explanations for fatigue before settling on a diagnosis of CFS.
Dr Perrin said: “Obtaining a diagnosis for CFS/ME is often a lengthy and stressful process for sufferers.
“This research shows that a simple examination could offer an aid to diagnosing CFS/ME for all doctors and primary health care workers dealing with CFS/ME.
“This could speed up the diagnostic procedure and help with the overall care of hundreds of thousands of sufferers in the UK alone. The quicker the diagnosis, the better the outcome for patients.”
Prof Jim Richards, lead for the Allied Health Research unit at University of Central Lancashire, says: “Although we would recommend carrying out further research among the larger population for validation, this certainly shows exciting potential for sufferers of CFS/ME and the way the condition may be identified”.