In this podcast, Anne Wilson, CEO Emerge Australia is in enlightening discussions with Dr David Systrom, who recently presented a most absorbing keynote address at The National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases, ME/CFS and Long COVID International Conference in northern New South Wales, here in Australia.
Dr Systrom is a member of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital pulmonary and critical care faculty and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School where he directs the Dyspnea Clinic and the Advanced Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Program.
He has been on the Harvard faculty for over 35 years during which time he has received NIH, AHA, Department of Defense, Dysautonomia International and OMF funding to study various forms of exercise intolerance. Over the past five years, he has used invasive cardiopulmonary exercise testing to investigate mechanisms underlying fatigue, shortness of breath and orthostatic intolerance in ME/CFS and PASC.
His recent work suggest commonality between the two, in particular neurovascular dysregulation and related hyperventilation underlying symptoms during exercise.
Most importantly, for this conversation, Dr Systrom is the Principal Investigator of an ongoing $8 million study of limb skeletal muscle mitochondrial dysfunction and just completed the first ever randomized clinical trial pyridostigmine, both in ME/CFS.
We don’t believe for a second that these illnesses are due solely to deconditioning. For example in many cases symptoms come on too quickly – too quickly to invoke simple deconditioning. Although most chronic diseases have a deconditioning element that contributes to exercise intolerance, what’s different in ME and Long COVID is post exertional malaise (PEM), where acute exercise can be the enemy. It’s very important with ME/CFS patients to avoid precipitating PEM. Our studies are beginning to help us understand the physiological mechanisms responsible for PEM. Dr David Systrom MD, Co-Director, The Ronald G. Tompkins Harvard ME/CFS Collaboration