In Australia | new centre for neuroimmunology and emerging diseases opens at Griffith University | 30 November 2013

December 2, 2013

From Medical News website, 30 November 2013.

People living with chronic fatigue are set to benefit with the opening next week (Dec 2), of the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED) at Griffith University.

The Centre will be opened as part of an international symposium on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) at the university’s Griffith Health Centre on its Gold Coast campus.

Otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a highly debilitating disorder characterised by profound fatigue, muscle and joint pain, cerebral symptoms of impaired memory and concentration, impaired cardiovascular function, gut disorder and sensory dysfunction such as noise intolerance and balance disturbance. Many cases can continue for months or years. It is believed to affect around 250,000 Australians.

The new centre is dedicated to research on the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system and is led by one of Australia’s foremost authorities on CFS/ME Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik.

“The NCNED heralds a higher level in Griffith’s capacity for state-of-the-art neuro-immunological research in the context of nervous system disorders,” she says. “These disorders are a major cause of neurological disability in Australia.”

She says she is overwhelmed by the support the community has shown towards the research so far. “Our patients have shown enormous courage in the trajectory of their illness and have contributed greatly to our research through their participation in scientific studies.”

Developments at the Centre are expected to be extended in February 2014 with the opening of a specialised CFS Clinic. The integrated facility will provide treatment to anybody living with the condition and will build on the research being conducted with participants which has shown a strong association between the condition and a dysfunctional immune system.

“We now have the capacity, not only for advanced research but also the potential to provide a clinical service to people who have been unable to find appropriate care in the past,” says Professor Marshall-Gradisnik. “Our research is leading the way internationally to uncover the causes of this illness and the search for effective treatments based on our unique immunological discoveries.”

Gold Coast Health Board Chair Mr Ian Langdon said he was pleased to enhance the research capacity at NCNED by a contribution to the purchase of new flow cytometry equipment, one of only two currently in Australia to ensure this research centre remains at the forefront of this research area.

“It is important that the NCNED receives support to purchase such technology from partners like Gold Coast Health as it will benefit local community members in a way previously unavailable to them.”


From >ABC News, Australia, 2 December 2013

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome research centre boost
By Joanna Crothers and staff
2 December, 2013 3:35PM AEST

A new research centre is set to improve knowledge and treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The syndrome, known also as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is characterised by profound fatigue, muscle and joint pain and an impairment of memory and concentration.

Around 250,000 Australians are believed to be affected by the disorder.

The National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases has been opened at Griffith University on the Gold Coast.

The centre is dedicated to researching the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system.

It's being opened as part of an international conference on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) that the universities hosting.

CFS expert Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik says it can be difficult to diagnose.

“There's no diagnostic tests so that's a problem in itself because there's a lack of identity, that manifests with the patient then feeling probably frustrated,” she says.

“The centre we have is addressing not so much that component but truly showing it's not in your head, there's classic unique signs that give
an identity to chronic fatigue.”

Professor Marshall-Gradisnik says more research is needed to successfully treat CFS.

“We have to look at what's the underlying mechanism to this illness,” she says.

“That's where this centre we've worked five years very hard to be the best in the world to show there are unique facets in the immune system and in the genetics of those cells.”

She says making part of the centre mobile will have a big impact on research results.

“A doctor and a researchers go out … and that's a world first in terms of the actual research that we're generating from that,” she says.

The university says the centre is due to be expanded to include a specialised CFS clinic in February 2014.

Listen to Nicole Dyer's interview with ABC News journalist Joanna Crothers about her experience with CFS.

Find out more about the Griffith University National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases

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