In a stunning announcement today, the U.S.'s National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that they would be taking some specific actions to improve and increase research into ME/CFS. This is a big deal since NIH has mostly ignored our disease for decades and not taken it very seriously. This announcement indicates a big change of direction for them. You can read NIH's full press release here.
The announcement states that NIH's new actions to bolster ME/CFS research are the direct result of the recent IOM report and Pathways to Prevention (P2P) report.
Here is a direct quote from NIH Director Francis H. Collins, M.D. PhD.:
“Of the many mysterious human illnesses that science has yet to unravel, ME/CFS has proven to be one of the most challenging. I am hopeful that renewed research focus will lead us toward identifying the cause of this perplexing and debilitating disease so that new prevention and treatment strategies can be developed.”
Wow, right? They have finally noticed our plight!
One specific action will be to start a clinical study of ME/CFS patients which will involve multiple NIH groups. The study's purpose will be "to explore the clinical and biological characteristics of ME/CFS following a probable infection to improve understanding of the disease’s cause and progression." Awesome.
Another action will be to set up a trans-NIH working group involving multiple NIH centers, in recognition of the fact that ME/CFS s a complex disease that affects multiple body systems. "One goal of the group will be to explore how new technologies might shed light on what causes ME/CFS. The Working Group includes representation from 23 NIH institutes, centers and offices."
Did I say WOW yet?? This is all a stunning move forward after decades of being ignored by the U.S.'s governmental health agency. When combined with the efforts of private research - which are moving forward rapidly and making new discoveries every day - this would seem to usher in a new era in ME/CFS research...and new hope for the millions of people affected by this debilitating disease.