2020 IACFS/ME Virtual Conference

Source: iacfsme.org

On August 21st, 2020, the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University is hosting the 2020 International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephelomyelitis (IACFS/ME) virtual research conference. The conference, which is targeted towards biomedical and behavioral professionals, will focus on biomedical, public health, and behavioral aspects of ME/CFS and associated comorbidities. A portion of the meeting will also be devoted to COVID-19 and its relevance to ME/CFS research and clinical care. Continuing medical education credits for physicians and nurses will be provided.

The presenters will cover a wide variety of topics relevant to ME/CFS, including how immunological, autonomic, and metabolic dysfunction contribute to the pathophysiology of ME/CFS and might serve as biomarkers, how integrated, cross-disciplinary, and international research/clinical networks might accelerate clinical and scientific progress, and will discuss insights from patients developing ME/CFS after COVID-19 infection.

The Zoom-style meeting will run from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM EDT, and will be recorded so people unable to attend live may watch it afterwards.

For more information and to register, click here. 

JAX Research Highlight: Novel Antibody Tests Reveal Complexity of the Immune Response to SARS-CoV-2

Conceptual 3D illustration fo SARS-CoV-2 viruses binding to ACE-2 receptors on a human cell, the initial stage of COVID-19 infection. Bigstock/Tyrannosaurus.

JAX investigators in the lab of Derya Unutmaz recently submitted an article for publication about a new assay that determines how well anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are able to neutralize binding with ACE-2, the human receptor for the virus. The article is now available as a preprint on medRxiv

Mark Wanner has also released a Research Highlight article on the Jackson Laboratory website, where he explains the study in detail and speculates on what the findings could mean in terms of determining disease susceptibility and progression in patients. This new assay may help aid in understanding the quality or duration of the antibody response during COVID-19, and have important implications in public health and vaccine effectiveness.

To read the Research Highlight by Mark Wanner, click here. 


New Columbia CRC Study: Plasma proteomic profiling in ME/CFS

Source: cfsformecfs.org

W. Ian Lipkin and our collaborators at the Center for Solutions for ME/CFS at Columbia University recently published a new article in PLoS ONE on July 21, 2020 on plasma proteomic profiling in ME/CFS. The study looked at 39 ME/CFS patients and 41 healthy controls, and found a significant association between ME/CFS and immune dysregulation. The group was able to use a machine learning classifier to differentiate between ME/CFS patients and healthy controls with a high degree of accuracy, so the study highlights the potential use of the plasma proteome as a source of biomarkers for ME/CFS.

The Center for Solutions also just released a blog post about the study, which was written by Dr. Anthony Komaroff and discusses the implications of the results. Dr. Komaroff explains what proteomics is, and what the results of the study mean for ME/CFS and potential research and treatments in the future.

To read the full research article in PLoS ONE, click here.
To read the blog post by Dr. Anthony Komaroff, click here.

An Update from the JAX ME/CFS CRC in the Time of COVID-19

Image Source: wataugademocrat.com

Like much of the rest of the world, the ME/CFS CRC at The Jackson Laboratory has been shut down since mid-March of this year because of COVID-19. Since that time, we have not been able to receive or process any ME/CFS patient samples. Some JAX employees have stayed on-site during the shutdown, but their work has focused entirely on COVID-19 testing and research.

Continue reading “An Update from the JAX ME/CFS CRC in the Time of COVID-19”

The Atlantic: Post-COVID-19 symptoms similar to ME/CFS and can continue for months

Source: Getty / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to make a major impact on ME/CFS disease. Viral infections have long been suspected to be a trigger of immunological events that may lead to ME/CFS. There are now worrying reports of people with COVID-19 that have symptoms reminiscent of ME/CFS, months after viral clearance.

Talented Atlantic writer Ed Yong recently wrote an article in The Atlantic about “COVID-19 long-haulers,” or the people who have been experiencing months of cyclical, debilitating symptoms after being infected with the virus. Many of these long-haulers were previously young and healthy, but have experienced weeks of fever, delirium, and crushing fatigue following infection. Despite these extreme symptoms, because what they’re experiencing differs from the typical COVID-19 illness profile, they have been told that it’s all in their heads. Online support groups host thousands of people who have been dealing with severe COVID-19 symptoms for at least a month, if not longer.

Continue reading “The Atlantic: Post-COVID-19 symptoms similar to ME/CFS and can continue for months”

NIH ME/CFS Advocacy Call: Video and Transcript Now Available

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On March 17, 2020, the NIH hosted a call to update the community on their efforts to advance research on ME/CFS. The advocacy call featured updates from Dr. Joe Breen on what each of the three CRCs have recently been working on, plus Data Management initiatives from the ME/CFS Consortium, and from Vicky Whittemore on the Trans-NIH ME/CFS Working Group and implementation of the Council’s Working Group Report. The webinar also featured Dr. Leonard Jason, who discusses his recent work published in the journal of Child and Youth Care Forum on the prevalence of ME/CFS in children. The audio of the advocacy call as well as the transcript have now been posted on the NIH’s website.

To watch the webinar or read the transcript, click here. 

#MEAction Meet the Scientist: Interview with Dr. Lucinda Bateman


A new spotlight interview featuring Dr. Lucinda Bateman was recently posted by Dylan Murphy of #MEAction. Dr. Bateman, who is part of our clinical core at Bateman Horne Center (BHC) for the JAX CRC, is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of BHC, and has treated over a thousand ME/CFS patients since 2000.

In the interview, Dr. Bateman discusses how she first got involved in treating and researching ME/CFS and what research BHC is currently doing. She also explains the BHC Biomarker Research Project and how biomarkers can help to progress the field, in addition to aiding in providing an easier path to diagnosis for patients. She also discusses the need to prioritize a trial of low dose Naltrexone as a treatment option for people with ME/CFS, and explains what Naltrexone is and how it can help patients. In terms of the lack of compassion that ME/CFS patients often experience from their healthcare professionals, Dr. Bateman says that, “the most obvious barrier to compassionate care is incomplete comprehension of the illness and its consequences. We can hope that research progress, stronger biomarkers and scientific support will start to replace this ignorance with knowledge.”

To read the article on #MEAction’s website, click here. 

Upcoming CDC ME/CFS SEC Conference Call

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On February 13, the CDC will hold an ME/CFS Stakeholder Engagement and Communication (SEC) Conference Call to briefly update the community on the CDC’s ME/CFS efforts, followed by a live Q&A session. The conference call will specifically feature updates from Dr. Elizabeth Unger, Chief of the Chronic Viral Diseases Branch at CDC. The call will be held from 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET.

The conference call can be accessed by dialing 1-888-603-7036 and using the participant code CDC MECFS. A transcript will be made available following the call. To sign up to be notified of future calls, send an email to MECFSSEC@cdc.gov.

To view the event on the CDC’s website, click here. 

JAX Research on Immune Profiles in ME/CFS is now Available Online

Ece Karhan, Courtney L Gunter, Stephanie Renzullo, Vida Ravanmehr, Lindsey Placek, Meghan Horne, and Peter N Robinson (top); Lina Kozhaya, Joshy George, Derya Unutmaz, Lucinda Bateman, and Suzanne D Vernon (bottom)

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.

Continue reading “JAX Research on Immune Profiles in ME/CFS is now Available Online”

NIH ME/CFS Advocacy Call: Video and Transcript Now Available

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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.

To watch the webinar or read the transcript, click here.