Gold Coast centre holds up hope on chronic fatigue syndrome
10 May 2013: Sunday 12 May is world chronic fatigue syndrome day and in good news for sufferers, Griffith University and the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service (GCHHS) are to give priority to fighting the debilitating condition.
Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA) Director-General Andrew Garner says this would be welcomed by the thousands of Australians suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and the related myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
“Chronic Fatigue Syndrome affects around 250,000 Australians. The condition can be crippling, with many people barely able to move, let alone go to work and earn a living,” Mr Garner says.
“To make matters worse, the condition is notoriously difficult to diagnose, meaning that people can go for months without getting the care and attention they require.
“Griffith University and the GCHHS recently established the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases on the coast,” he says.
“The new centre, dedicated to research on the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system and led by one of Australia’s foremost authorities on CFS/ME Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik, will give priority to this important research.”
In a two-year study of over 300 people with the disability, Professor Marshall-Gradisnik found a strong association between the condition and a dysfunctional immune system.
Gold Coast Health Board Chairman Mr Ian Langdon says recent commitments by major funders and benefactors and key government support meant that they could now make this research a priority.
“I would like to acknowledge the participation of the Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation, Edward P Evans Foundation (USA), DSITIA and the Mason Foundation as key contributors to this ground breaking research that has significant clinical benefit to patients with this disorder,” Mr Langdon says.
Griffith University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (Health) Professor Allan Cripps says the development of the research centre was a milestone in an evolving university-health services partnership.
“The National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases brings to fruition years of research effort culminating in extensive research, academic publications and provides significant insights as to the potential pathology in this disorder,” Professor Cripps says.
“Together we can achieve much more than either entity alone.
“In particular we have already achieved extraordinary success in the immunological area in CFS/ME and expect to have further significant findings by our research team,” he says.
For more information contact Dr Don Staines, Gold Coast Public Health Unit, on (07) 5668 3700 or Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik, National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases, Griffith University, on (07) 5678 0414.