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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Sport Sciences

First Advisor

Christopher R. Snell

Second Advisor

Mark VanNess

First Committee Member

Craig A. Vierra

Second Committee Member

Staci Stevens


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating illness that is characterized by pervasive fatigue, sleep disturbance, neurocognitive problems, joint and muscle pain and numerous other symptoms. Results from CFS treatment studies are equivocal. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of Ampligen® therapy on immune function and functional capacity in a group of patients with CFS. Natural killer cell number and activity, the activity of the 2-SA pathway, and results of serial cardiopulmonary exercise tests were examined for a total of seven subjects (n=7). A key finding was the normalization of RNase L. Only one subject demonstrated both a normalization in RNase L and increase in exercise performance. Trends in NK cell activity were difficult to determine. Improvements in functional capacity as measured by peak V02were seen in five subjects, but these improvements were minor. The expected improvement in both the immune system as measured by RNase L and NK cell function, and improvement in functional capacity were not seen in this study. This confirms that CFS is a very complicated syndrome and that more research is needed. Ampligen® may have been responsible for the RNase L normalization observed in some patients but NK cells seemed unaffected. It could be that Ampligen® is helping the immune system fight viruses present in the CFS subjects. Improvements in peak V02 were small but deconditioning in subjects might be a possible explanation. The exact cause of CFS remains unknown but with continued research it may yet be possible to increase our understanding of CFS.



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