Preliminary Results from Ramsay 2016 Projects Team 2 & Team 4June 20, 2018

In 2016, Solve ME/CFS Initiative launched the first cycle of the Ramsay Award Program. The Ramsay Awards are foundational to SMCI’s commitment to explore all worthy research avenues. This program aims to move the field forward by funding innovative research across many disciplines, bring new researchers in the myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) field, and provide seed dollars so that researchers can go on to obtain funds for larger studies in their areas of expertise.

In this edition of Research1st, we are featuring preliminary results from Ramsay 2016 Teams 1 and 5. We look forward to providing a full report out following the publication of the study outcomes.

Team 1: Neuroimaging Study Provides Evidence of Inflammatory Processes in the Brains of Individuals with ME/CFS

Using a non-invasive brain imaging technique, Dr. Jarred Younger, Director of the Neuroinflammation, Pain, and Fatigue Lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been investigating the hypothesis that ME/CFS fatigue is due to inflammation in the brain. Elevated brain temperature in the scans of individuals with ME/CFS would support the conclusion that there are inflammatory processes at work.

Dr. Younger advised SMCI: “We have completed the data analyses and found that several markers of neuroinflammation are elevated in the brains of individuals with ME/CFS. We have used the results in a large grant application to continue the work, and are now preparing our main manuscript for submission.”

Team 5: Molecular Mechanism Behind Mitochondrial Dysfunction Indicated, for Further Study

Dr. Bhupesh Prusty, a molecular virologist in the Department of Microbiology at University of Würzburg, designed his 2016 Ramsay project to explore the hypothesis that mitochondrial dysfunction in ME/CFS has a pathogenic connection. He focused on HHV-6 (a herpesvirus that has been implicated in chronic conditions) based on his previous findings of HHV-6 activation and changes to mitochondria.

The preliminary results indicate that HHV-6 activation can lead to changes to mitochondrial structure and function, potentially even in healthy cells via a mechanism of remote activation. Dr. Prusty said “data generated during the project will enable us to write at least 2 manuscripts, which will also create possibilities for us to acquire further grant funding to continue our work.”