The Jackson Laboratory: Perspectives on ME/CFS

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The Jackson Laboratory has just released a new launch page on their website about ME/CFS, with the hope of increasing awareness about the disease. The page includes links to recent feature articles, including one from February 2019 that highlights the JAX CRC that’s being led by Derya Unutmaz, MD, and a Q&A with Courtney Gunter from earlier this month about the importance of science communication, especially with ME/CFS. There are also new videos that offer more information from the perspectives of the physician, the researcher, the caregivers, and the patient, as well as calls to action for donations to support ME/CFS research.

Check out the ME/CFS section of JAX’s website here. 

NIH Accelerating Research on ME/CFS Meeting

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On Thursday April 4 and Friday April 5, 2019, NIH will be hosting the Accelerating Research on ME/CFS meeting in Bethesda, MD. The two-day meeting, which has the goal of driving the ME/CFS research field forward by identifying gaps and opportunities through presentations of newer research, will be webcast and made publicly available. Experts as well as newcomers in the ME/CFS field will be presenting their research, and there will also be several panel discussions. From Jackson Labs, Derya Unutmaz, MD, will present on the link between the microbiome and immune system, and Julia Oh, PhD, will also discuss the importance of the microbiome in ME/CFS. Dr. Lucinda Bateman of Bateman Horne Center (BHC), will talk about orthostatic intolerance as part of a clinician panel. There will also be a group discussion Q&A moderated by Terri Wilder of #MEAction.

The day before the conference, on April 3, 2019, NIH will also host a workshop for young/early career ME/CFS investigators, called Thinking the Future. Attendees will learn key networking and grant writing skills, listen to a panel of non-profit funders, and give presentations on their own ME/CFS research ideas. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a poster session at the first day of the Accelerating Research on ME/CFS meeting on April 4th.

To register for the Accelerating Research on ME/CFS meeting, click here. 
To learn more about the Thinking the Future workshop, click here. 

Perspective: Life on the front line of ME/CFS research

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Courtney Gunter; source: jax.org by Charles Camarda

A new perspective spotlight article has just been posted on the Jackson Laboratory website about Courtney Gunter, the JAX ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center’s Program Manager. Courtney was interviewed to learn more about her role at the Center, including how she became interested in ME/CFS research, why the JAXMECFS blog was started, and what it’s like to run it. The interview also covers what her thoughts are on the current state of the ME/CFS field, and which blog posts were her favorite to write.

To check out the article on JAX’s website, click here. 

ME/CFS Continuing Medical Education (CME) Program Released by BHC

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Dr. Lucinda Bateman of Bateman Horne Center has recently helped create free online Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs about ME/CFS for medical providers, and they’re now available. These projects were the result of collaborations with the CDC and Medscape, and with the Michigan State Medical Society web page and PANDORA, a group of patient advocates. BHC is dedicated to improving education about ME/CFS for medical providers, which is critical for both patients and for research initiatives, and these CMEs are just one effort they’re focusing on to increase the number of informed providers.

Click here to visit BHC’s medical provider page, where the CME links are available. 

JAX Feature Article: Solving the Mystery of [ME/CFS]

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Source: jax.org

The Jackson Laboratory has just released a new feature article about ME/CFS on their website to increase awareness about the disease. The feature article, which highlights the recently established JAX CRC that’s being led by Derya Unutmaz, MD, delves into some of the issues that patients face in receiving diagnosis for the disease and in finding doctors who will give them proper care to manage their symptoms, and also includes details about how the microbiome and immune system are being studied by the CRC to determine the root cause of ME/CFS.

Continue reading “JAX Feature Article: Solving the Mystery of [ME/CFS]”

Survey for Columbia CRC ME/CFS App Development

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The Center for Solutions for ME/CFS at Columbia University, one of our partner CRCs funded by NIH to accomplish ME/CFS research, is designing a mobile device app called “my/MECFS.” The app, which would allow ME/CFS patients to report on their symptoms and on activities and events that might affect symptoms, is currently being designed. To aid in the design of the app to ensure that it provides meaningful information to patients, researchers, and health professionals, and is also easy to use, Columbia is seeking input from people with ME/CFS and knowledgeable health professionals in a new survey. The survey should take 10 minutes or less to complete, and will help determine what features  should be a priority for the app.

To complete the survey, click here. 

Frontiers: Machine Learning to Estimate Prevalence, Demographics, and Costs of ME/CFS

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A new study in Frontiers in Pediatrics has used machine learning to look at a large medical claims database to determine the prevalence, gender demographics, and costs for individuals living with ME/CFS. Since ME/CFS is such a heterogeneous disease, there is a lack of diagnostic testing and confusion about how to code the disease, making it difficult for an individual to be diagnosed. This also makes it problematic to estimate other aspects of the disease, such as prevalence, but this study offers a new approach to this problem by using machine learning to look at characteristics of patients who have been given a diagnosis code for ME or CFS to makes these estimates.

Continue reading “Frontiers: Machine Learning to Estimate Prevalence, Demographics, and Costs of ME/CFS”

New MECFSnet Website for the ME/CFS CRCs

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The ME/CFS Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs) have a new Website!  The site that just went live aims at informing the community about the ongoing research at the three CRCs, or ME/CFS Research Network (MECFSnet), and was developed by the Data Management Coordinating Center (DMCC). There are features and information about the research projects happening at Columbia University, Cornell University, and The Jackson Laboratory. We hope that it will be updated frequently and welcome the feedback of the ME/CFS community.

Click here to visit the new MECFSnet website! 

Happy Holidays and New Year!

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Happy Holidays from everyone here at the JAX ME/CFS CRC! We believe 2018 has been a landmark year for pushing forward with advances in #MECFS research. We are very excited about the progress that has been made, and look forward to the next year for generating novel findings and collaborations with the other Centers and scientists.

We are especially thankful for the community’s unwavering participation and support of our scientific endeavors over this past year. In the first year of research at the ME/CFS Center at JAX, we have actively worked with our clinical partners at Bateman Horne Center to recruit individuals with ME/CFS and healthy controls, and to date we have collected both blood and stool samples from dozens of patients who were recruited to the study. We have processed all of these biological samples for immune profiling, microbiome, and metabolism data analysis for biomarker discovery in our labs, which has been a labor of love and passion! Our collaborations with the Cornell and Columbia ME/CFS Centers are also running at full speed. We are working on the same set of samples across the three sites and contributing our respective strengths to our studies, and we believe that this will generate the most comprehensive biological dataset to date on ME/CFS patient samples.

We are even more hopeful now that our progress will continue to accelerate into 2019 and bring many new ideas and inspiration, as well as a promise for a brighter tomorrow for all those who are suffering from this terrible disease. We wish that all of the ME/CFS community and their loved ones be blessed with laughter, peace, and love. May the magic and the wonder of the holiday season stay with you throughout the coming year, and the New Year bring you new achievements, joy, and maintain your hope, because failure is not an option!

Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!
– the JAX ME/CFS team, Derya Unutmaz, and Courtney Gunter

Microbial Growth Rate and its Potential Link to Human Disease

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Julia Oh, source: jax.org

It’s possible to use metagenomic shotgun sequencing to look at complex microbial communities and see what types of microbes are present there, as well as their functions. However, sequencing does not give information about how quickly different species of bacteria within the community are growing. Microbial growth rates change based on different environmental conditions, give information about which microbes may be active contributors to community phenotypes, and can even be associated with multiple disease characteristics, so this information would be highly useful for assessing the effect of different microbes on human health. However, existing techniques to determine microbial growth rates have been difficult to utilize, and have important limitations.

Continue reading “Microbial Growth Rate and its Potential Link to Human Disease”