Insights into [ME/CFS] Phenotypes through Comprehensive Metabolomics

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A recent study in the journal Scientific Reports from Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, who is the Principal Investigator for the Columbia ME/CFS Center, has new metabolic and microbiome findings that could lead to the development of a diagnostic biomarker for ME/CFS. The article, titled “Insights into myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome phenotypes through comprehensive metabolomics,” details the analysis of plasma metabolomic, fecal bacterial metagenomic, and clinical data from 50 ME/CFS patients and 50 healthy controls. Metabolomics, which is the study of metabolites, or the end products of cellular processes, can give insight about the physiological state of the body, and how it is functioning.

The group analyzed 562 different molecules of the metabolome in subject blood samples using mass spectrometry, and then linked that data to fecal metagenomic data and clinical data. When all of the data was combined, the group was able to develop a predictive model for ME/CFS diagnosis with a 0.836 score, or an accuracy rate of 84 percent. In an article by Medical News Today about the study, first author Dr. Dorottya Nagy-Szakal is quoted, saying, “this is a strong predictive model that suggests we’re getting close to the point where we’ll have lab tests that will allow us to say with a high level of certainty who has this disorder.”

Solve ME/CFS Initiative Webinar Series: Derya Unutmaz, M.D.

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Source: solvecfs.org

On July 19th, Derya Unutmaz will participate in the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI) Webinar Series, a free series with the purpose of educating patients, researchers, and healthcare providers about ME/CFS. The webinars are held several times per year, and are live-streamed and later uploaded to Youtube for the community to watch. Derya’s webinar, titled “Crossroad of the Immune Response and the Microbiome: Impact on ME/CFS,” will provide an overview on how the microbiome can impact the immune system, and how dysbiosis of the microbiome could cause a perturbation of this interaction, contributing to the pathophysiology of ME/CFS. Participants can register for the webinar on SMCI’s website, and can then send in questions ahead of time that will be asked during the webinar.

To register for the webinar on SMCI’s website, click here. 

Advocate Spotlight: Charmian Proskauer

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We are pleased to present Charmian Proskauer, an ME/CFS advocate and former cell biologist and website manager, in the latest “People in ME/CFS Research” spotlight. Charmian is the President of the Massachusetts CFIDS Association, and has participated in many advocacy initiatives at both the state and federal levels as part of the organization. She is also the Chair of the US Action Working Group, and participates in some of the working groups for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC). Charmian  and a group of patients and advocates from Mass CFIDS visited Derya and me at Jackson Labs several months ago, where they provided us with valuable insight. Keep reading to find out more about how Charmian began advocating for ME/CFS, and some of the latest initiatives she’s involved in. 

Continue reading “Advocate Spotlight: Charmian Proskauer”

Bateman Horne Center Article: BHC Strives for Excellence

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Bateman Horne Center (BHC), located in Salt Lake City, UT, just published a new article about their rigorous 3.5-year strategic plan to become a center for excellence for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia (FM). BHC, a specialized medical center focused on treating patients with ME/CFS and FM, and our clinical core for the JAX ME/CFS CRC, is intent on improving the lives of patients and therefore is focusing on a three-phase plan to engage patients in research to further the field, educate healthcare providers to improve clinical care for patients, and focus on targeted clinical trials to address the heterogeneity of ME/CFS and FM. According to their mission statement, they “envision a world where patients with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia (FM) are readily diagnosed, effectively treated, and widely met with empathy and understanding.”

To read about the strategic plan on Bateman Horne Center’s website, click here. 

ME/CFS Physician Spotlight: Morris Papernik, M.D.

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In our latest “People in ME/CFS Research” spotlight, I was fortunate to visit Dr. Morris Papernik at his nearby clinic in Connecticut and interview him about his decades of clinical experience with ME/CFS patients. Dr. Papernik has been treating ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia patients for over thirty years, has served on the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC), and we are very excited about the prospect of collaborating with him soon here at Jackson Labs for the ME/CFS CRC project. Read on to learn more about his background, his methods for diagnosis and treatment, and his opinion of the ME/CFS field. 

Continue reading “ME/CFS Physician Spotlight: Morris Papernik, M.D.”

JAXtaposition: Decoding Chronic Illness

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Source: Charles Camarda, for jax.org.

On June 14, Derya Unutmaz gave a seminar talk for the Jackson Laboratory’s new speaker series, JAXtaposition: Cures Can’t Wait. The series, which is open to the public and features TED-style talks from faculty and senior leadership on the cutting-edge programs and research at JAX, focuses on a variety of important health topics, including cancer, addiction, and rare diseases, among others. Derya’s talk centered on the topic of chronic illness, and was focused specifically on ME/CFS.

In an article written about the event, Maggie Moore outlines Derya’s research plans for figuring out what causes the disease, and quotes him as saying, “we’re sequencing thousands of species of bacteria. We’re determining hundreds of different populations of immune cells in the same person. We’re also analyzing their metabolism and thousands of different metabolites in their blood. We’re trying to put the patient’s biology back together.” Derya believes in the importance of treating the patient rather than the disease, and says that in the context of understanding overall health, researchers are realizing that instead of keeping each of the body’s systems separated into unique areas of interest, we should integrate all of these systems back together to see the whole picture.

To read the article about Derya’s talk on JAX’s website, click here. 

Scientist Spotlight: Alison Motsinger-Reif, Ph.D.

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In our latest “People in ME/CFS Research” spotlight, I interviewed Alison Motsinger-Reif, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in Statistics at North Carolina State University, and the Biostatistics Lead for the JAX ME/CFS CRC. Alison has an interest in computational genetics, pharmacogenetics, and epistasis, and will be combining all of the microbiome, immune profiling, and metabolome data for the ME/CFS project into an interactome, where she can figure out which variables are relevant to the disease. Read on to learn more about her background, research plans, and how she got her start in science with Derya. 

Continue reading “Scientist Spotlight: Alison Motsinger-Reif, Ph.D.”