Image description: Picture shows a group of people attending a conference. Inset pictures show people suffering with M.E. lying down. The title reads ME/CFS Research Conference 2023: Understand, Diagnosis, Treat

The Charité Fatigue Center ME/CFS Research Conference 2023: Understand, Diagnosis, Treat 11 – 12 May 2023

Dr Katrina Pears attended the 2-day research conference for the ME Association and reports on a selection of the presentations. The conference programme can be accessed here. It included 28 short presentations and a poster session with 25 posters (that included Dr Karl Morten speaking about his Raman Spectrometry study).


Understanding Post-Exertional Malaise (PEM).

Christian Puta – Sports Medicine and Health Promotion, University of Jena, Jena, Germany.

Christian Puta looked at PEM and the understanding we have about it. He acknowledged that it was difficult to test for as testing tends to induce PEM. The teams work specifically looks at trying to study PEM without long recovery periods.

When PEM occurs peak oxygen uptake is reduced, systemic oxygen extraction to the tissues is reduced and this affects post-PEM recovery.

In ME/CFS patients, we need to be able to measure the anaerobic generation as patients do not have a big aerobic capacity. The study he conducted used a one-minute sit to stand test, which resulted in 56% of patients underperforming. After a second test, they found a 10–14-day recovery period, which was a big problem.

Hypoxia exists in ME/CFS where oxygen shortage in tissue causes more lactic acid. The study also found a low anaerobic threshold and low VO2 (maximum oxygen consumption). This means there is inadequate energy production, with reduced peak VO2, and ROS formation (no spare resources for daily living).

Morphological changes in red blood cells also exist in ME/CFS. Membranes are extended and enlarged, and this reduces O2 extraction. It was proposed that this could be a diagnostic tool. Gene expression is also altered in post exercise in ME/CFS.

Rest and recovery are very important following exercise as it helps to protect against multi-systemic symptoms.

Dr Katrina Pears,
Research Correspondent.
The ME Association.

Dr Katrina Pears - MEA Research Correspondent
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