The new study analyzed spinal fluid from 25 of those chronic Lyme patients, 43 people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and 11 healthy people. Using a special high-powered technology, researchers detected more than 2,500 proteins in each group.
More important, they found clear sets of proteins - hundreds each - unique to each disease, said Dr. Steven Schutzer of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, who led the work.
In other words, if this study pans out, doctors will have an easy way to tell whether a patient has ME/CFS, Lyme, or neither of those diseases.
That's a big deal. ME/CFS shares a bunch of symptoms with chronic Lyme disease, leading physicians to frequently misdiagnose one for the other. Unfortunately, the treatment differs. People with chronic Lyme may benefit from industrial-strength antibiotics. However, said antibiotics can have nasty side-effects, so you really don't want to take them unless you actually do have Lyme.