As part of ME awareness Week, PhD student Katharine Seton has blogged about her studies into this debilitating condition and also how she’s trying to raise money for Invest in ME Research.
The 11th of May to the 17th of May 2018 is ME Awareness week. ME stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). ME/CFS is a chronic disease, which is suffered over a period of several years or even decades. It is detrimental to the afflicted person’s health, and often has a significant impact on a person’s ability to not only engage in social and leisure activities, but also their ability to work or complete education.
ME/CFS patients experience an array of systems including: Post mental exertion malaise, post physical exertion malaise, sensitivity to light and noise, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, musculoskeletal pain, severe headaches, impaired memory, impaired concentration, increased susceptibility to infections and gastrointestinal disturbances.
At the Quadram Institute, several PhD students are being supported by the charity Invest in ME Research to undertake research into the causes of ME/CFS. Personally, I am investigating whether there is an altered immune response to gut microbes in ME/CFS, due to a leaky gut barrier. I am hoping to discover if this could be the missing link between immune system dysfunction and gastrointestinal disturbances in ME/CFS patients. To research this, I have set up a patient study to which I am asking severe ME/CFS patients to donate stool and blood samples on up to six occasions, across a three-year period.
The main obstacle of this human study, is arranging a for qualified person to draw blood samples, a phlebotomist, to visit patients’ homes with me and other project staff for blood sample collection. To enable this process, I am hoping to raise money to fund a phlebotomist for my study. Over the next two weeks, fundraising activities will be taking place at the Quadram Institute to raise money for Invest in ME Research charity, a segment of which will be used to aid blood sample collection for my study. Fundraising events include a cake sale and raffle at Quadram Institute Bioscience on May 19th. Please help us raise money and awareness for this cause.
You can support this research, and wider efforts to raise money and awareness for ME research by supporting the Invest in ME Research campaign to establish a UK Centre for Biomedical Research into ME