Chronic fatigue in children that can often be disabling and one of the main causes for the child's prolonged absence from school could mainly be due to their genetic inheritance.
Researchers from Cardiff University's School of Medicine (Department of Psychological Medicine), in a genetic study of twins, found that though disabling fatigue and depression usually occur together, they are of different genetic and environmental causes.
They explained that all the participants were twins from Wales and North West of England twins. It was shown that around 1,468 parents of twins and 930 older pairs of twins took part in the study. The researchers in the study analysed both short duration disabling fatigue, which lasts for more than one week and prolonged disabling fatigue that lasts for more than one month.
The study led by Dr Tom Fowler with colleagues at Cardiff University and Professor Anne Farmer at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, found that 67% of the influences on short-duration fatigue in children and adolescents are genetic. The results suggest that prolonged fatigue is also linked to familial influences.
Dr Fowler, Department of Psychological Medicine said: 'Our research found that the majority of genetic and environmental differences are specific to disabling fatigue and distinct from depression. This suggests the fatigue states in children should be considered as valid entities in their own right, and not as variants of depression.'