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Research Digest 6/09/19

Welcome to the 31st 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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Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: A comprehensive review

Authors: Cortes Rivera M, Mastronardi C, Silva-Aldana CT, Arcos-Burgos M, Lidbury BA.

Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4418/9/3/91/htm

This comprehensive review proposes a pathophysiological hypothesis that explains both the set of symptoms characteristic to ME/CFS, as well as the results of molecular research into the condition. The ‘three pillars’ hypothesis focuses on the interactions between the immune system, the neuroendocrine system, and the central nervous system.

A clear pathophysiological process in ME/CFS is currently unknown. There are many different studies focused on biomarkers for ME/CFS, but presently the research provides inconclusive results. There is also limited evidence available for treatment interventions associated with ME/CFS. Current pharmacological, nonpharmacological, and alternative therapies are focused on relieving symptoms and improving quality of life by targeting various elements of the network of the ‘three pillars’. The authors point out that most of these therapeutic approaches also have inconclusive results for the management of ME/CFS symptoms.
 
The review recommends that future pathophysiological research focuses on differentiating the fatigue experienced in ME/CFS with that experienced in other fatiguing conditions like cancer, as well as differentiating ME/CFS from functional somatic syndromes. This review highlights the need for more studies to be conducted to understand the disease, in order to facilitate the development of effective treatment strategies.

This paper is from Emerge Australia’s sponsored special ME/CFS issue of Diagnostics.

Antibodies to human herpes viruses in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome patients

Authors: Blomberg J, Rizwan M, Böhlin-Wiener A, Elfaitouri A, Julin P, Zachrisson O, Rosen A, Gottfries C.

Link: http://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.01946/full

While the exact cause of ME/CFS is unknown, infection is a common trigger. In particular, several of the eight types of human herpes viruses have been implicated in ME/CFS. This research looked into the rate of herpes virus infections and its re-activation within the ME/CFS cohort as compared to healthy controls.

Results did not show the herpes virus infection to be more common or intense in ME/CFS patients than in healthy controls. However, there were some small differences in antibody relativities in ME/CFS patient samples, which may suggest that ME/CFS patients react differently to herpesviruses than healthy controls do. The authors conclude that this warrants further investigation.  

Living with chronic fatigue syndrome

Author: Clark P.

Link: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/living-with-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/11472388

702 ABC Radio in Sydney aired an hour-long ‘What it’s like to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome’ segment on its Nightlife program on Monday 2 September, with Emerge Australia CEO Dr Heidi Nicholl, joined by researcher and head of microbiology at LaTrobe University Professor Paul Fisher, and patient Fiona Cheng in the studio. Host Philip Clark drilled into the illness and the misconceptions around it, and the in-depth discussion covered the difficulties of living with ME/CFS, research directions and funding challenges, and an update on the initial research focus for the newly announced Australian Mason Foundation-funded biobank and patient registry.

A huge thank you to Fiona for her valiant attendance and excellent contribution, and to all the callers who offered such valuable insights into living with the condition.

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