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But 2016 was an EXCELLENT year for ME/CFS research! Lots of exciting new studies were published and major on-going projects announced, much of which made big headlines, even in the mainstream media. We are living in a time of great change and forward movement in the ME/CFS world, with advances being made constantly in diagnosis, treatment, and uncovering the mysteries of this complex disease.
Here are some highlights from 2016, starting with summaries from two major ME/CFS research organizations:
Solve ME/CFS Initiative published its year-end summary last week, including research advances, bringing together researchers from diverse branches of science with ME/CFS patients, building awareness of ME/CFS, and advocacy efforts to improve funding and government recognition. Their recently announced 5 seed projects through the Ramsay Award Program for ME/CFS are especially exciting and are just beginning. Check out their summary, which is in an easy-to read and understand format, for details.
Likewise, Open Medicine Foundation also published their Summary of 2016 Accomplishments, which is similarly impressive. It includes exciting research efforts that are still moving forward, a top-notch team of scientists and experts, advocacy efforts, and more.
Back here on my own blog, I posted a lot of summaries of ME/CFS research studies published and/or in progress in 2016, including:
- First-Ever Teen ME/CFS Population Study published in the UK
- A much-needed and helpful study showed the Difficulty of Diagnosing POTS and the frequent need for multiple tests (most doctors do one and are done). This is one of immediate use that you can print to show your doctor.
- Two very exciting new studies on Gene Expression in ME/CFS Patients and Lyme Patients showed significant genetic differences between patients and healthy controls and identified some of the most important genes involved. This is critically important research that can lead to diagnostic tools, better treatments, and maybe even someday a cure.
- An Australian study Identified BioMarkers That Might Lead to a Diagnostic Test, though more work is needed to bring it to patients.
- My summary on a bunch of studies on Rituximab, a Potentially Promising Treatment for ME/CFS - 2017 should bring some additional reports on this exciting area of investigation.
- A study out of Cornell that showed that Specific Gut Bacteria in ME/CFS Patients Could Provide Future Diagnostic Tools.
- A report from University of California San Diego released the results of a ground-breaking study that Identified a Metabolic Chemical "Signature" Unique to ME/CFS Patients. Top ME/CFS doctors in the US are already using the results of this study to test treatments with their patients, and OMF is continuing the research into 2017 to further develop these findings.
- New Genetic Research from the US's NIH Applicable to ME/CFS - although this research wasn't done specifically on ME/CFS patients, its findings are clearly applicable to us and will likely result in follow-up studies specific to ME/CFS.
The pace of research into ME/CFS is definitely accelerating at a faster and faster rate - and the more that happens, the faster the advances will come because they all build on each other.
Heading into 2017, we have - AT LAST! - a solid framework of scientists, doctors, and experts all focused on unraveling the mysteries of ME/CFS and helping its patients - and most of them are sharing information and working together. Things are looking good for us and just keep getting better and better all the time.
Here's to a healthy and happy new year with many more scientific advances!