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Trying too hard could trigger rare illness

Thursday 7 June 2012


From The Times of India:


BrainTrying too hard could trigger rare illness

, TNN | May 28, 2012, 02.32AM IST

MUMBAI: Two years back, Bhopal boy Iqbal finished his engineering degree and landed a job in one of India's best software company in Bangalore. Iqbal (name changed) had a dream start to his working life, or so it seemed. But he resigned eight months later citing an unusual reason: brain-fogginess.

His parents and friends back home initially refused to believe him. But all noticed an unusual pattern. In the mornings, it was difficult to converse with Iqbal. Long pauses and monosyllabic answers were all one could get out of him. Evenings were a bit better as Iqbal seemed sharper.

"If someone at the workplace even asked me for my address, I would take long to recollect it. Doing any work or following a computer command seemed an uphill task," said Iqbal. Worse, he would fall asleep at his desk.

Naturopaths and doctors whom he contacted on returning to Bhopal couldn't pinpoint the reason.

"A relative working in Fortis Hospital in Mulund then took me to meet neurologist Girish Nair," said Iqbal. A diagnosis then emerged. "The brain-fogginess," said Dr Nair, "was due to condition called chronic fatigue syndrome."

Chronic fatigue syndrome refers to severe, continued tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions for over six months. The patient also has a host of other symptoms, ranging from general body aches, difficulty in concentrating and processing information.

"In day-to-day conversations, we often say that we are chronically fatigued but the medical definition is not as simple," said Dr Sangeeta Rawat, who heads KEM Hospital's neurology department.

The diagnosis is hence difficult and rare.

"There is no single test to diagnose this syndrome," said Dr Nair. "It is actually a diagnosis by eliminating diagnosis of many other diseases," said Dr Nair. For instance, brain fogginess could be caused by depression, shortage of vitamins such as B12 and D or viral diseases. "Brain-fogginess is essentially difficulty to concentrate or memory problems. Some patients have difficulty in following what others are saying," he said.

So, Iqbal was evaluated for various diseases before being labelled with chronic fatigue syndrome.


The above originally appeared here.



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