By Ariana Eunjung Cha September 6, 2016
A new study raises the extraordinary possibility that humans may be able to put themselves into a kind of hibernation state as well — but in a way that hurts us rather than helps us.
The research, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focuses on the devastating condition known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, more popularly known as chronic fatigue syndrome. CFS is one of the biggest mysteries of modern medicine and is characterized by severe fatigue and related issues such as headaches and memory problems. According to conservative estimates, 2.5 million people in the United States suffer from it, but no cause has ever been pinpointed. That has made some doctors so skeptical of the diagnosis that many patients complain that they have sought help, only to be told the symptoms are in their heads.