By Dr Charles Shepherd, Hon. Medical Adviser to the ME Association
This is a summary report of what I felt were the highlights and main points to emerge from this year's CMRC conference that took place in Bristol on 13 and 14 September.
Overall, it was a busy, stimulating, and very enjoyable event. It has also been the most impressive open international biomedical research conference to take place this year and the only one where the public are provided with almost instant access to videos covering most of the presentations and to this summary. A much more detailed report is being prepared by the conference writing group and will be published in due course.
I would like to add my congratulations to the CMRC and the event organisers. Well Done CMRC!
We were fully booked with both UK and overseas researchers – a good proportion being students or established researchers who are new to ME/CFS research. This year the ME Association (with the help of a private donor) sponsored 5 students to attend the conference.
There was no particular emphasis to the conference – with presentations, posters and workshops covering a wide range of research topics. However, a theme running through many of the key presentations was the need for meaningful collaboration among researchers, and involvement from the patient community when research is being planned and protocols developed. It was also stressed that while fatigue is an important part of ME/CFS, this is a multisystem disease with a range of other core symptoms.
What I found particularly helpful was to have the world's two leading experts on autonomic nervous system dysfunction in ME/CFS – Professors Julia Newton and Peter Rowe – together to talk about orthostatic intolerance, neurally mediated hypotension and PoTS in ME/CFS. And, having several presentations on how different types of neuroimaging are helping us to understand the neuropathology of ME/CFS, were very welcome.
As there were so many presentations and posters I will not include every single one in this report. The summaries below are brief – if you want to follow up what was said, most of the presentations now have a free access video attached. There are a few exceptions – mainly due to new pre-publication research information being presented.
Access the report
To allow greater choice and easier access, we have made the full report available to view online and as a download. You have two options:
- Open/download it as a Word 2010 file which should allow you to watch the video presentations within the document, or view it in Word Online and watch the videos outside of the document (click the links)
- Open/download it as a pdf. file version which may grant easier access, but will mean watching the videos outside of the document. You may also need to download Adobe Acrobat reader if you don't already have it installed.
Whichever option you choose, we hope you will enjoy Dr Shepherd's summary report. A full report of the 2-day conference will be made available in due course.