Fatigue is Commonly Severe in Mitochondrial Diseases


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Several findings point to the mitochondria in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. If ME/CFS is a mitochondrial disorder then one might expect that fatigue would be common in other energy depleting mitochondrial disorders. Oddly enough, no one appears to have checked that out until now.

Dr. Julian Newton has found that severe fatigue is commonly found in both mitochondrial disorders and ME/CFS

"Prior to this study, although patients had been identified clinically as having symptoms of fatigue, few had been recognised to have such prominent fatigue comparable to that in patients with CFS/ME."

Interestingly, there's no difference between the genders in mitochondrial disorders.
Neuromuscul Disord. 2015 Apr 23. pii: S0960-8966(15)00087-5. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2015.03.001. [Epub ahead of print] Perceived fatigue is highly prevalent and debilitating in patients with mitochondrial disease. Gorman GS1, Elson JL2, Newman J3, Payne B4, McFarland R3, Newton JL5, Turnbull DM3.

Perceived fatigue is a prominent symptom in patients with mitochondrial disease but to date its prevalence, impact and aetiology are poorly understood. Our aim was to determine the prevalence and assess for comorbidities associated with clinically relevant fatigue in patients with mitochondrial disease. A cross-sectional postal survey of patients with mitochondrial disease was undertaken using a validated self-completion, patient-reported outcome measures (response rate: 60%; n = 132). The prevalence and perceived functional impact of experienced fatigue were assessed using the Fatigue Impact Scale. Other putative biological mechanisms were evaluated using the Hospital Anxiety Depression scale and Epworth sleepiness scale. Data were compared with those for healthy control subjects and patients with Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome matched for age and gender.

Sixty-two per cent of patients with mitochondrial disease reported excessive symptomatic fatigue (Fatigue Impact Scale ≥ 40); whilst 32% reported severe, functionally limiting fatigue symptoms (Fatigue Impact Scale ≥ 80) comparable to perceived fatigue in patients with Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Fatigue is common and often severe in patients with mitochondrial disease irrespective of age, gender or genotype. Future evaluation of causal factors in mitochondrial disease-associated fatigue is warranted with the potential to guide future treatment modalities.

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