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MRC awards the psychiatric department at King's College a third of a million for CFS research

Countrygirl

Senior Member
Messages
5,387
Location
UK
Would you describe your experience of ME as being 'tired and run down'? No, neither would I. Whoever wrote this sentence has no concept of how a person with ME 'feels'.

The psychiatric department at King's College London (now who is it that works there? :() has been awarded a third of a million pounds by the MRC to undertake the research below. Now why couldn't they give it to some serious and appropriate research into the actual disease ME? Well, I guess we can all provide some answers to that.:p:whistle:



http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/F3584D06-7F9C-44E0-A049-B66D08452816

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition in which patients feel persistently and overwhelmingly tired and run down, both physically and mentally. In addition, they have difficulty with concentration, flu-like symptoms and aches and pains. This condition interferes with daily life activity, and, in some patients, is profoundly disabling. Although many years of research have been conduced on CFS, we still do not know what is causing it.

One biological system that is involved in CFS is the "immune system", that is, the system dedicated to fight infections in our body. Indeed, in many cases CFS is triggered by an infection, but then the symptoms continue even after the infection has been eliminated. Specifically, infections are always accompanied by acute fatigue and flu-like symptoms, as a consequence of the infection-driven immune activation; however, in patients with CFS the immune activation and the associated fatigue and flu-like symptoms persist for months or years. Moreover, there is evidence that the immune system is in a state of "hyper-activity" in patients with CFS, as if they were fighting an infective agent, even though they do not have an ongoing infection.

This project aims to understand exactly this process: how the infection and the acute immune activation evolve into CFS, and what are the risk factors that make this process occur in some individuals but not others. Clearly, trying to study this process in subjects experiencing naturally-acquired infections is very difficult, for the unpredictability of these events. In contrast, we want to model the development of CFS by studying a group of patients that have a pre-existing infection (chronic viral hepatitis C, HCV) and that receive a course of treatment (lasting months) with the immune activator, interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha). IFN-alpha is the treatment of choice for HCV infection. Because it activates the immune system, IFN-alpha also induces fatigue and flu-like symptoms in all patients. Moreover, and of particular relevance for this study, a considerable proportion of patients continue to experience debilitating persistent fatigue, and other symptoms that are similar to CFS, for 6 months or even one year after the cessation of IFN-alpha. This phenomenon strikingly resembles CFS, which, as mentioned above, also persists after the infective/immune trigger has been eliminated. Therefore, we are proposing to use IFN-alpha as a model to understand how an immune trigger induces persistent fatigue even when the initial immune trigger is no longer present.

To do this, we will assess these patients throughout the many months of IFN-alpha treatment and at 6 months after cessation of treatment, in order to identify those with persistent "post-IFN-alpha-treatment" fatigue, and understand what biological and clinical changes lead to this outcome. Moreover, we will compare these patients with a group of patients with CFS and with a group of healthy individuals, conducting the same biological and clinical assessment. We will measure changes occurring in blood hormones that are relevant to the immune function, such as "cytokines" and "cortisol". In addition, we will asses changes in measures of well-being, including physical fitness, concentration, sleep and mood.

We are confident that creating and validating this model of CFS will generate a host of future studies aimed at improving the health of people with CFS. For example, we will be able to build a check-list of blood measures that could predict who will, and who will not, develop CFS; we will test novel treatments for "post-IFN-alpha-treatment" fatigue, facilitated by the fact that these patients are homogeneous in their clinical background, and then extend these treatments to patients with CFS; and, finally, we will truly understand what happens in the body during the development of CFS, and thus identify novel therapeutic approaches to interrupt this development.
 

Sasha

Fine, thank you
Messages
17,863
Location
UK
I found the description a bit 'wall o'text' so I've broken it up for easier reading:

GtR said:
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition in which patients feel persistently and overwhelmingly tired and run down, both physically and mentally.

In addition, they have difficulty with concentration, flu-like symptoms and aches and pains. This condition interferes with daily life activity, and, in some patients, is profoundly disabling.

Although many years of research have been conduced on CFS, we still do not know what is causing it.

One biological system that is involved in CFS is the "immune system", that is, the system dedicated to fight infections in our body.

Indeed, in many cases CFS is triggered by an infection, but then the symptoms continue even after the infection has been eliminated.

Specifically, infections are always accompanied by acute fatigue and flu-like symptoms, as a consequence of the infection-driven immune activation; however, in patients with CFS the immune activation and the associated fatigue and flu-like symptoms persist for months or years.

Moreover, there is evidence that the immune system is in a state of "hyper-activity" in patients with CFS, as if they were fighting an infective agent, even though they do not have an ongoing infection.

This project aims to understand exactly this process: how the infection and the acute immune activation evolve into CFS, and what are the risk factors that make this process occur in some individuals but not others.

Clearly, trying to study this process in subjects experiencing naturally-acquired infections is very difficult, for the unpredictability of these events.

In contrast, we want to model the development of CFS by studying a group of patients that have a pre-existing infection (chronic viral hepatitis C, HCV) and that receive a course of treatment (lasting months) with the immune activator, interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha).

IFN-alpha is the treatment of choice for HCV infection. Because it activates the immune system, IFN-alpha also induces fatigue and flu-like symptoms in all patients.

Moreover, and of particular relevance for this study, a considerable proportion of patients continue to experience debilitating persistent fatigue, and other symptoms that are similar to CFS, for 6 months or even one year after the cessation of IFN-alpha.

This phenomenon strikingly resembles CFS, which, as mentioned above, also persists after the infective/immune trigger has been eliminated.

Therefore, we are proposing to use IFN-alpha as a model to understand how an immune trigger induces persistent fatigue even when the initial immune trigger is no longer present.

To do this, we will assess these patients throughout the many months of IFN-alpha treatment and at 6 months after cessation of treatment, in order to identify those with persistent "post-IFN-alpha-treatment" fatigue, and understand what biological and clinical changes lead to this outcome.

Moreover, we will compare these patients with a group of patients with CFS and with a group of healthy individuals, conducting the same biological and clinical assessment.

We will measure changes occurring in blood hormones that are relevant to the immune function, such as "cytokines" and "cortisol".

In addition, we will asses changes in measures of well-being, including physical fitness, concentration, sleep and mood.

We are confident that creating and validating this model of CFS will generate a host of future studies aimed at improving the health of people with CFS.

For example, we will be able to build a check-list of blood measures that could predict who will, and who will not, develop CFS; we will test novel treatments for "post-IFN-alpha-treatment" fatigue, facilitated by the fact that these patients are homogeneous in their clinical background, and then extend these treatments to patients with CFS; and, finally, we will truly understand what happens in the body during the development of CFS, and thus identify novel therapeutic approaches to interrupt this development.
 
Messages
15,786
Wow, quite a quack-fest! I suppose the purpose will be to prove that there is no difference between fatigue patients and healthy people (except our beliefs that we are ill), and/or CBT regulates the immune system. A suitable methodology will be developed to guarantee one or both of these outcomes.
 

TiredSam

The wise nematode hibernates
Messages
2,677
Location
Germany
One biological system that is involved in CFS is the "immune system", that is, the system dedicated to fight infections in our body.

Why on earth, if they are really studying the immune system, isn't the money going to the immunology department, instead of the psychiatric department, who for some reason put "immune system" in quotation marks as if there is some doubt as to its existence?
 

maryb

iherb code TAK122
Messages
3,602
Location
UK
'Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition in which patients feel persistently and overwhelmingly tired and run down, both physically and mentally'

this has never described my illness from the day it struck me down.........what on earth are they talking about, dolts, all of them.
 

Scarecrow

Revolting Peasant
Messages
1,904
Location
Scotland
If I understand the webpage correctly, that study was funded in 2012.
Yes, it's an old one. It was one of the five studies the MRC funded several years ago.

Warning: no ME/CFS patients were included in this study!

It used Hep C patients administered interferon-alpha as a model for CFS (interferon-alpha induces fatigue in most people.) So they studied fatigue that might have something or nothing to do with us.
 

A.B.

Senior Member
Messages
3,780
This project aims to understand exactly this process: how the infection and the acute immune activation evolve into CFS, and what are the risk factors that make this process occur in some individuals but not others.

Sounds like the psychobabble explanation is already being prepared.

The study description sounds fine but it's the people involved that are toxic and have an agenda.
 

Sasha

Fine, thank you
Messages
17,863
Location
UK
Except that they're basing it on fatigue patients, while calling it CFS, and will undoubtedly equate it to ME in the process.

Several of the authors are well-known psychobabblers who are in the habit of (deliberately?) producing negative results when carrying out very limited biological research.

Some of the authors don't inspire confidence but do we know what the inclusion criteria are?
 

Scarecrow

Revolting Peasant
Messages
1,904
Location
Scotland
this has never described my illness from the day it struck me down.........what on earth are they talking about, dolts, all of them.
They seem only to be aware of the Oxford research criteria - hence it's perfectly acceptable (in their own minds) to study any fatigued people they chose and call it a CFS study.

They certainly don't appear to be acquainted with UK clinical criteria for ME/CFS.
 

Sasha

Fine, thank you
Messages
17,863
Location
UK
Yes, it's an old one. It was one of the five studies the MRC funded several years ago.

Warning: no ME/CFS patients were included in this study!

It used Hep C patients administered interferon-alpha as a model for CFS (interferon-alpha induces fatigue in most people.) So they studied fatigue that might have something or nothing to do with us.

My bad - I misread it and thought they were following up Hep C patients who had developed CFS. Not the kind of study I thought it was.
 

msf

Senior Member
Messages
3,650
I think you are supposed to say something like 'this resembles CFS, which is also believed to persist after the infective/immune trigger has been eliminated.'

Of course, I learnt that from reading dozens and dozens of scientific papers, so perhaps I am expecting too much.
 

msf

Senior Member
Messages
3,650
'Specifically, infections are always accompanied by acute fatigue and flu-like symptoms, as a consequence of the infection-driven immune activation; however, in patients with CFS the immune activation and the associated fatigue and flu-like symptoms persist for months or years.'

Wait a minute, I feel a thought coming on, yes, wait a minute, no, it's gone again...