Members of the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on ME will hold their opening meeting of the year on Wednesday, January 21 – when they will have an update on the ME scientific research taking place at the University of Newcastle.
Julia Newton, professor of ageing and medicine at Newcastle, who is already well-known on the ME/CFS research conference circuit, will be the main speaker at the meeting to be held in Committee Room 1 in the Parliament building. The meeting starts at 1pm and is expected to continue until 2.30pm.
Professor Newton and her colleagues are developing studies into the autonomic nervous system and the role it plays in fatigue and cognitive impairment. She has already broken new ground with published work on primary biliary cirrhosis, a rare liver disease.
This year will see the publication of new guidelines for Scottish GPs on the diagnosis and management of ME/CFS – expected to be based partly on the ME Association's own clinical management booklet ME/CFS/PVFS – an Exploration of the Key Clinical Issues, written by MEA medical adviser Dr Charles Shepherd and consultant neurologist Dr Abhijit Chaudhuri. The Cross Party Group has been consulted on the content of the new guidelines.
And the group is expected to keep up pressure on the Scottish Executive to carry out a nationwide needs assessment of ME/CFS to assist with the future provision of targeted health services for people with the illness.
People wanting to attend the meeting on January 21 are asked to notify the group secretariat in advance so that a list of the names of those attending can be made available to the parliament's security staff. Please email Hazel Dawson, or phone Hazel on 0141 353 9545.