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Red Hot researchers spice up Chilli ME Challenge — Live!

Simon submitted a new blog post:

Red Hot researchers spice up Chilli ME Challenge — Live!

Can you take the heat? Join Simon McGrath in support of the Chilli ME Challenge ...

Watch renowned researchers Drs. Ian Lipkin and Mady Hornig take the Chilli ME Challenge, LIVE from New York by webcast this coming Wednesday, 1st July at 1 p.m. EST.

To spice things up, the researchers from Columbia University have promised that the more you give, the hotter the chilli peppers they will eat! And every dollar goes directly to their cutting-edge programme of ME/CFS research.

Some like it hot

Their spice-o-meter currently shows they will be eating spicy jalapeño chillis, and are just shy of taking on red hot Thai chillies. Your gift can make that difference!

The team have made a brilliant trailer for this landmark in researcher engagement:

There's no doubt these two researchers are up for a challenge. When the study they organised ruled out XMRV as the cause of ME/CFS, their response was that something was causing the illness and they wanted to find out what it was. So they embarked on an impressive programme of research, the first fruits of which came this year and made media headlines.

When the NIH turned them down twice for a study of the microbiome in ME/CFS patients, they refused to quit. They reached out to patients with a crowdfunding campaign that raised over $220,000.

Now they are spicing up their efforts with the Chilli ME Challenge, taking the heat for ME/CFS research. As they say, Make This Summer Red Hot for Research.

Dr. Lipkin's Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, where Dr. Hornig is Director for Translational Research, is one of the world’s largest and most advanced centres in microbe discovery, identification and diagnosis. That makes it perfectly equipped to find out how bacteria, fungi, viruses and toxins (and the immune response to them) might contribute to ME/CFS.

Donate now and put the heat on ME/CFS!

Don't stop at giving. You, too, can eat a hot pepper and challenge others to do the same.
The Chilli ME Challenge

The #chilliMEchallenge is a grassroots global campaign organized by four young women with ME, the 4 Chilis in a Pod. They are encouraging people to eat chillies, post the video online and donate to either Columbia in the U.S. or Invest in ME in the UK (donation page).

The Chilli ME Challenge has a Facebook community and you can see the dozens of videos of chilli-eating for ME on YouTube. Amongst many others, Jen Brea and Lucinda Bateman have risen to the challenge and both nominated Ian Lipkin to do the same. Jen challenged Mady Hornig too, just to make sure.

Now Lipkin and Hornig are responding, and you can watch live.

Columbia's Chilli ME Challenge, LIVE from New York - don't miss it!

Make a note in your diaries: This Wednesday, 1st July at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PDT, 11 a.m. MDT, Noon CDT, 5 p.m. UK, 6 p.m. Europe). Visit Columbia's Chilli page to register for the webcast and even get a reminder.

See you there. And don't forget to donate first if you want them to really feel the heat.

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Hornig and Lipkin participating in the Chili challenge. Half a million donation. Fluge and Mella results. Today has been a good day.:)
And today (July 1st) is the first day of the second half of 2015, so if this is an indication... :)
If you skip to 4:50 you can see what happened after they cut off the live video. It looks brutal.

At one point Mady Hornig says "When you eat pepto bismo and yogurt, you're not ok" in response to one of her team members asking if she's all right.

I'm inspired to donate a little more to thank them for their sacrifice. They should have nominated Francis Collins as maybe he would consider donating a few of NIH's funds to help research.... Just kidding of course, I guess it's still all up to disabled patients and our supporters.
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For those of you on Twitter and/or Instagram, here’s how to get in touch with a few of the nominees — to remind them, encourage them etc..! :)



The hashtag is #ChiliMEChallenge

If you don’t feel like writing something yourself, check out @CII_Columbia on Twitter and retweet their tweets!


Well folks, they did this for us and our community. It's nice to have friends on our side, demonstrating their commitment to the community and the research. They could have easily ducked out of ME/CFS research and pursued something more scientifically glamorous with easier access to resources. But they've stuck with us. And now they got more resources to pursue further research.
If you skip to 4:50 you can see what happened after they cut off the live video. It looks brutal.

At one point Mady Hornig says "When you eat pepto bismo and yogurt, you're not ok" in response to one of her team members asking if she's all right.

Our researchers shouldn't have to suffer like that on our behalf. :( I'll be happy for them to work a few overtime hours instead. ;)

Next time let's think up something a little less painful, eh? :p

These are two amazing people, in many more ways than one. Many thanks to them for everything they've done for us... the research, the risk to their careers for taking on ME/CFS, the fund-raising. They don't come much better than this. :love:

Where's our self-proclaimed dedicated supporter, Prof Wessely? Shall we call him out? Hey Wessely, want a habanero? Oh wait, he wouldn't want to support biomedical research, that would only encourage our false illness beliefs. Oh heck, if I can watch him eat a bunch of hot peppers, he can raise money for CBT/GET research. Better than him getting government funds for his crap research at least.

Do we need a Send Prof Wessely a Habanero campaign?
Would be good to do more to draw attention to this - maybe people got a bit distracted by the rituximab announcement at the same time? Thanks for all those working on it, and especially to Lipkin and Hornig.
It's interesting to note that chili peppers don't actually "burn" the tissues, rather the capsaicin they contain binds to the TRPV1 receptor (Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1), which, in turn, starts the process by which the nerves transmit a burning sensation to brain. The body's response to this signal causes inflammation in the absence of actual physical injury.

Ironically, TRPV1 is one of the expressed genes that was found to be dysregulated in ME by Alan Light, et al.

In this recent video, Alan Light suggests that this dysregulation of TRPV1 may have something to do with the thermal dysregulation experienced by some ME patients.

Somehow, this makes the chili pepper challenge seem especially apt.

Discussion of TRPV1 starts at 4:38.

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I missed this. I was blindsided by my oven breaking down and the Rituximab paper but I've now taken a proper look at this. Awesome job by all those involved - well done. And special thanks of course to Hornig and Lipkin!
And thanks to whoever made that huge donation, that was awesome too and it's really going to make a difference to a lot of people's lives.

If you were nominated and you're reading this, then please help us by doing the challenge. It's a small thing that has an enormous positive impact which will last long after the chillie.
Just saw this tweet from Columbia. I'm hoping they post a video of the team, love these guys and gals...

@CII_Columbia: Coming soon: entire CII team responds to the #chiliMEchallenge !