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Daily News Archive
From January 4, 2002

Chemicals Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

At a chronic fatigue syndrome conference in Sydney, Australia, Professor Mohamed Abou-Donia of the Duke University Medical Center stated the possibility that chronic fatigue syndrome could be caused by common household pesticides such as head lice treatments and insect repellents, according to the news source Ananova. Professor Abou-Donia studied rats exposed to repellents and insecticides together. The rats suffered brain cell death that he says is consistent with "muscle weakness, joint pain and problems with the central nervous system."

Abou-Donia stressed that more research needs to be done concerning the effect of exposure to chemicals in combination with each other. He feels the government should strictly regulate household chemicals since little is known about their interaction with other chemicals that humans are regularly exposed to including over-the-counter medicine.

Stress causes further susceptibility to chemical injury by breaking down the blood-brain barrier, according to Abou-Donia This allows the chemicals easier access to the brain that can cause damage resulting in chronic fatigue syndrome. Abou-Donia also compared chronic fatigue syndrome to Gulf War syndrome and found many similarities.