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Research Digest 14/06/19

Welcome to the 25th Emerge Australia Research Digest, where you will find summaries of some of the latest research and information about ME/CFS, with links to the complete articles.

You can also join our community and choose to have the Digest delivered straight to your inbox every fortnight on a Friday afternoon by signing up at the bottom of this page. 

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Abnormal blood lactate accumulation during repeated exercise testing in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome

Authors: Lien K, Johansen B, Veierod M, Haslestad A, Bohn S, Melsom M, Kardel K, Iverson, P.


A new study from Norway has measured the results of physical activity and the accumulation of lactate in people with ME/CFS. The study recruited 18 females with ME/CFS and 15 females as healthy controls.

The participants underwent two Cardio Pulmonary Exercise Tests (CPETs), spaced 24 hours apart. The authors found that there was no significant difference in oxygen uptake (VO2) at peak exercise (VO2peak) between people with ME/CFS and healthy controls after the test. However, the authors found that after undergoing the second CPET there was a greater increase of lactate in participants with ME/CFS and a decline in lactate in healthy controls. Participants with ME/CFS also experienced significant symptom exacerbation after undergoing the CPET.

These results found that previous physical activity increases lactate accumulation in ME/CFS as opposed to the reduction seen in healthy controls.

Orthostatic intolerance in chronic fatigue syndrome

Authors: Garner R, Baraniuk J.


This study from a research team at Georgetown University in Washington DC aimed to characterise orthostatic intolerance (OI) in people with ME/CFS, as well as investigate the effect of exercise on OI. Orthostatic intolerance has been proposed by the Institute of Medicine (IoM) to be a criterion for diagnosing patients with CFS. Orthostatic intolerance occurs when people experience dizziness and lightheadedness upon standing.

The authors found that ME/CFS patients are more likely to have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), compared to healthy controls. POTS is a condition defined by an abnormally large increase in heart rate when someone moves from a lying to standing position. Therefore, it was initially thought that postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome caused dizziness and lightheadedness. However, symptoms of dizziness and lightheadedness were the same in ME/CFS patients with POTS and without it. The authors also found that exercise worsens the dizziness and lightheadedness felt by people with ME/CFS, more than it does in healthy controls.

Overall, the study proposes that the cause of the dizziness and lightheadedness in CFS patients is not due to POTS. 

Invest in ME Research’s 14th International ME Conference

Author: Vallings R.


On Friday 31 May, Invest in ME Research held their 14th International ME Conference (IIMEC14). There was a variety of researchers from across the globe, and the conference saw a number of younger researchers attend. New Zealand based clinician Dr Ros Vallings has provided an easy-to-read, but still comprehensive, summary of the conference.

Some highlights from the IIMEC14 include talks from Professor Donald Staines, Dr Nancy Klimas, Professor Ron Davis and Professor Oystein Fluge. The conference closed with a lively Q&A session.

Channel 7 Daily Edition – Chronic fatigue syndrome is a very real condition; here’s what you need to know


Emerge Australia CEO Dr Heidi Nicholl appeared on Channel 7 TV for The Daily Edition on Tuesday 11 June. The segment ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome is a very real condition; here’s what you need to know’ gave more national coverage for ME/CFS.

Heidi spoke about the biomedical underpinnings of the illness, stating, ‘What we’re finding is there are underlying biological differences with patients who have the condition. Despite the short four-minute segment, she gave a summary of recent research, mentioning brain inflammation, as well as intracellular research, which finds that ‘the mitochondria aren’t working as they should be.’

The interview is around four minutes long and a written summary is available on the 7 News website.

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