We are very excited to have just posted the full preprint of our new ME/CFS immune profiling paper on BioRxiv, which will continue to be updated following reviewer comment and peer-review. In this detailed study, we analyzed the immunological differences between ME/CFS patients and healthy controls within a large cohort and found several major differences in T cell subset frequencies and functions between the two groups.
On October 17, 2019, the NIH hosted a webinar to update the community on their efforts to advance research on ME/CFS. The webinar, which was live-streamed via WebEx, featured the Chair of the NANDS Council Working Group for ME/CFS, Dr. Steven Roberds, PhD, who summarized the ME/CFS research findings that the Working Group presented to the NANDS Council about a month before. The video of the webinar as well as the transcript have now been posted on the NIH’s website.
The update included details about initiatives that are currently in progress at the NIH, including the efforts that NIH is making to encourage new research topics about ME/CFS and coordinating research on overlapping conditions, encouraging general outreach as well as outreach for scientific endeavors such as conferences, setting up an inter-agency Working Group, and identifying gaps in the field. That next step that the NIH plans to take is to develop a strategic plan which clearly states the process the NIH will use to fill the numerous needs in this field.
An interesting webinar featuring Amy Proal, PhD, of Microbe Minded was hosted a few weeks ago by Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI), and the video was later posted on their Youtube channel. Amy, who was recently awarded a Ramsay grant from SMCI for her research, also published an article in Frontiers in Pediatrics in December 2018 about ME/CFS. The SMCI webinar focuses on the Frontiers article’s theory that chronic symptoms in ME/CFS are driven by the presence of persistent pathogens that affect the metabolism, gene expression, and immune system.
Amy describes how she considers ME/CFS to be a polymicrobial disease, in that pathogens associated with disease live as part of the complex microbiome communities in the body and interact with these communities to push other members of the microbiome into dysbiosis, which in turn causes symptoms. Amy believes that this can cause a snowball effect where successive infections with different pathogens build on each other to ultimately cause disease, and that this model could also explain why when presented with the same pathogen, some people develop ME/CFS while others don’t. She also discusses how recent Alzheimer’s research that explores new treatment possibilities could also be beneficial to people with ME/CFS.