“This study may help identify risk factors that make certain individuals more likely to develop ME/CFS after an infection and may provide additional insights into biological causes of this debilitating disease,” said Vicky Whittemore, program director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
One aim of the new study is to assess the natural history of and risk factors for the maintenance of ME/CFS following infectious mononucleosis (IM).
The NIH study is focusing on people who came down with the disease after an infection, of any sort, within five years. That initial infection is long gone but maybe, the body’s normal reactions to illness went into a destructive tailspin. Nearly 500 patients have called seeking to enroll in NIH’s study that is putting a few dozen under the microscope, with a barrage of sophisticated tests few hospitals can offer under one roof. “The ignorance about the condition just vastly dwarfs what we know about it,” said Dr. Walter Koroshetz, director of NIH’s National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which is leading the research.
In a breakthrough 2014 study in Japan, PET (positron emission tomography) scans of ME/CFS patients brains found significant inflammation in the amygdala, thalamus, and hippocampus that correlated with reduced cognitive function, pain, and depression. So far, PET scans have been performed on 19 male patients (26-54 years old) and 38 females (25-60 years old) of which about 40% have been found to have significant inflammation in the brain. Of these, three men have already started the drug trial. In this clinical trial, a PET scan and various tests are performed before any medication is started. After four months of administration of existing drugs currently used to treat cerebral infarction, various tests will be performed again to see if inflammation and symptoms are relieved. By the end of 2020, a total of 90 patients will be scanned, of which 30 patients with significant inflammation will join the trial. If the drug trial demonstrates positive results, there is the possibility of the development of new drugs to treat ME/CFS symptoms.
“This research gives us additional evidence for the role of the immune system in ME/CFS and may provide important clues to help us understand the mechanisms underlying this devastating disease,” said Vicky Whittemore, Ph.D., program director at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Scientists at the University of Birmingham in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam have uncovered a possible explanation for the mental sluggishness that often accompanies illness.
Researchers have discovered the pharmacological drug, Naltrexone, significantly restored the function of faulty receptors associated with myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). The study can be found here.
The Third Annual Community Symposium on the Molecular Basis of ME/CFS, sponsored by OMF, took place on September 7, 2019 at Stanford University. It brought together hundreds of researchers, clinicians, patients, caregivers, families, and advocates, and thousands more by livestream.
The state of ME/CFS research in Australia and awareness are the subjects of this excellent article by Amanda Cox.
The Metabolic Trap could be caused by a IDO2 mutation found in ME patients, Dr. Davis discusses the possible implications of this research.
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have disproved the prevailing theory of how DNA binds itself. It is not, as is generally believed, hydrogen bonds which bind together the two sides of the DNA structure. Instead, water is the key. The discovery opens doors for new understanding in research in medicine and life sciences. The findings are published in PNAS.