By Louise Durack, Griffith University, December 2, 2013
People living with chronic fatigue are set to benefit with the opening today (Dec 2), of the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED) at Griffith University.
The Centre will be opened as part of an international symposium on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) at the university’s Griffith Health Centre on its Gold Coast campus.
Otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a highly debilitating disorder characterised by profound fatigue, muscle and joint pain, cerebral symptoms of impaired memory and concentration, impaired cardiovascular function, gut disorder and sensory dysfunction such as noise intolerance and balance disturbance. Many cases can continue for months or years. It is believed to affect around 250,000 Australians.
One of Australia’s foremost authorities
The new centre is dedicated to research on the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system and is led by one of Australia’s foremost authorities on CFS/ME, Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik.
“The NCNED heralds a higher level in Griffith’s capacity for state-of-the-art neuroimmunological research in the context of nervous system disorders,” she says. “These disorders are a major cause of neurological disability in Australia.”
She says she is overwhelmed by the support the community has shown towards the research so far. “Our patients have shown enormous courage in the trajectory of their illness and have contributed greatly to our research through their participation in scientific studies.”
Developments at the Centre are expected to be extended in February 2014 with the opening of a specialised CFS Clinic. The integrated facility will provide treatment to anybody living with the condition and will build on the research being conducted with participants which has shown a strong association between the condition and a dysfunctional immune system.
“We now have the capacity, not only for advanced research but also the potential to provide a clinical service to people who have been unable to find appropriate care in the past,” says Professor Marshall-Gradisnik. “Our research is leading the way internationally to uncover the causes of this illness and the search for effective treatments based on our unique immunological discoveries.”
Gold Coast Health Board Chair Mr. Ian Langdon said he was pleased to enhance the research capacity at NCNED by a contribution to the purchase of new flow cytometry equipment , one of only two currently in Australia to ensure this research centre remains at the forefront of this area.
“It is important that the NCNED receives support to purchase such technology from partners like Gold Coast Health as it will benefit local community members in a way previously unavailable to them.”