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In Melbourne, progress on chronic fatigue

24 November 2016

Peter Clarke talks to Bio21 researcher Chris Armstrong about new research that challenges popular views of this enigmatic illness

Right:

Big data: the Bio21 Institute at the University of Melboune. Umow Lai

Big data: the Bio21 Institute at the University of Melboune. Umow Lai


With its debiliating symptoms – fatigue, “brain fog,” pain, gastrointestinal disorders – and its elusive causes, chronic fatigue syndrome has been one of the great unsolved medical mysteries. Now, a growing number of research teams around the world are tackling the challenge of diagnosing and treating the illness using new medical research techniques.

By looking at patients’ genetics and the changing pattern of their metabolites – the molecules produced by their individual metabolisms – these researchers have made enormous progress in uncovering patterns exclusive to the condition and countering once-popular psychological explanations.

Among the research centres working on CFS (also known as myalgic encephalomyoletis) is the Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne. Earlier this month, amid the centrifuges, mass spectrometers and NMR cylinders used to identify shifts in biological material, Peter Clarke spoke to Bio21 researcher Chris Armstrong.

The Institute’s work is supported by the Mason Foundation, with assistance for NMR equipment from the Australian Research Council.

Bio21 Institute

Symptom checklist

Phoenix Rising website and forums

Open Medicine Institute

Duration: 24 mins 11 secs

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Essays & Reportage

Red spot specials: the fall and rise of Australian measles

Frank Bowden

11 March 2016

Vaccination is not only justified by self-interest, writes Frank Bowden. It is also an act of altruism

Right:

Measles compared: the boy on the left has measles, the middle one has scarlet fever, and the one on the right has smallpox. Engraving by an unnamed artist from Les Remedes de la Bonne Femme, circa 1880. Mary Evans Picture Library/AAP Image

Measles compared: the boy on the left has measles, the middle one has scarlet fever, and the one on the right has smallpox. Engraving by an unnamed artist from Les Remedes de la Bonne Femme, circa 1880. Mary Evans Picture Library/AAP Image