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Imagine being physically exhausted all the time. Now imagine society being unsympathetic to your condition, or being misdiagnosed by your doctor as having a mental problem. For sufferers of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, diagnosis of this illness as a legitimate health issue can be problematic. But Associate Professor Brett Lidbury and Dr Alice Richardson of the Research School of Population Health are determined to change this.
People are considered to have ME once all other illnesses have been ruled out, e.g. iron deficiencies or thyroid problems, and are still fatigued after six months. A small scale study undertaken by Lidbury and colleagues, however, has revealed that serum activin B levels are altered in a subset of ME patients and could be diagnosed with a blood test. They are investigating this further.
Lidbury and Richardson are part of an international research team that has been awarded $1 million dollars by The Mason Foundation to conduct a larger scale study over the next five years. Researchers will establish a Biobank which will store blood samples from approximately 550 participants. They will then analyse these samples in the hopes that the pathology markers they have previously identified as being indicated in ME are statistically significant.
Read more at: https://science.anu.edu.au/news-events/news/researchers-cusp-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-diagnosis-discovery