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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Making Inroads at Top Medical School: Montoya’s ME/CFS Initiative at Stanford Grows

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By Cort Johnson • • September 8, 2013

Source: Health Rising, Sept 4, 2013

By Cort Johnson

The team has grown… The Stanford Chronic Infectious Illness Initiative led by Dr. Jose Montoya began in 2010. If they’ve been quiet lately, it’s not because they haven’t been busy. With a basketful of exciting projects, new staff members, a new advisory board and a growing biobank–not to mention Stanford’s hosting of the big IACFS/ME conference in March of next year–they’ve been busy.

For one thing it’s no longer the Chronic Infectious Illness Initiative; ‘chronic infectious illnesses’ have stepped down and ME/CFS is now front and center. It’s simply the Stanford Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Initiative now.

They’ve Grown – They are substantially larger, and now list 21 people on their team including three research coordinators, three Clinical Care professionals, a neurophysiologist, a cardiologist, three immunologists, three radiologists, one research assistant, two undergrads, and two high school student volunteers. Dr. Montoya is steadily gathering support for his ME/CFS initiative at Stanford.

They’ve Published—Three papers are out on antiviral treatment with one more being submitted for publication that looks at how men and women respond differently to antivirals.

They’ve Expanded Their Search—I don’t know about you, but hearing that a group is studying parasites (toxoplasma gondii), fungii (coccidoides immitis), and bacteria (borrelia burgdorfii) along with the usual suspects makes me feel kind of like we’re in the hands of some real experts. They didn’t mention that they’re also studying herpes simplex, a herpesvirus that’s not on any other group’s radar but which one ME/CFS theory paper suggested could be at the heart of ME/CFS.

They’ve now got an Advisory Committee—It’s a good one. It includes the former head of the Trans-NIH Working Group, Dennis Mangan, who shook the NIH up good during his short time there and promised he would stay engaged with ME/CFS after he retired. The group also has our own Dr. Lily Chu (ME/CFS patient and advocate), Stanford immunologist Mark Davis , Stanford MD and author Abraham Verghese, and others. It couldn’t have easy establishing an ME/CFS program at one of the most highly rated medical schools in the country–they’re usually the last to fall, so to speak, with a disease like ME/CFS, but Montoya has persevered and the program is finding its legs, and is growing.

Read more here.

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