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Open Medicine Foundation Announces New “Brain Fog” Study

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From the desk of Ronald G. Tompkins, MD, ScD — OMF Chief Medical Officer:

Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is excited to announce a new collaborative study between the ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at Uppsala, Sweden and the Harvard ME/CFS Collaboration.

This study focuses on biomarkers for long-term neurocognitive outcomes. It provides an excellent opportunity to understand the mechanism of long-lasting viral-induced cognitive complications, commonly referred to as “brain fog.” Brain fog is one of the significant symptoms of those suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and is also seen in patients with herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE).

About the Study

Objectives:

Investigate the correlation between biomarkers for brain inflammation and long-term neurocognitive outcomes in patients with herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE).

Method:

Fifty patients with Herpes Simplex Encephalitis (HSE) had blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sampled at three separate intervals – while in ICU, two weeks later and three months later. During these three months, all 50 patients appear to suffer from post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), and many are expected to qualify for ME/CFS diagnosis at six months.

Markers of neuroinflammation will be measured in the CSF, while markers of altered metabolism will be identified in the blood. These markers will be correlated to symptom expression. A panel of markers from each time point will be used to biologically distinguish those that develop ME/CFS from those that do not.

Conclusions:

Our findings could give predictive evidence of long term neurocognitive outcomes in HSE and suggest a causative chain of events where brain tissue damage increases the risk of subsequent prolongation of CSF inflammation and post-viral fatigue. The data could guide a future intervention study of immunosuppressive therapy administered in the recovery phase of HSE and other viral infections with neurological sequelae.

This study reveals why OMF uses the word “Collaborative” to describe the research that we fund! Our guiding philosophy is that a collaborative approach accelerates research.

In the words of OMF founder and CEO Linda Tannenbaum:

“We are delighted to fund this important project, which allows for collaboration between the Uppsala and Harvard Collaborative Research Centers. We want to thank our OMF family, whose support and advocacy make our research possible.”

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By ProHealth-Editor

Karen Lee Richards is ProHealth’s Editor-in-Chief. A fibromyalgia patient herself, she co-founded the nonprofit organization now known as the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) and served as its vice-president for eight years. She was also the executive editor of Fibromyalgia AWARE, the very first full-color, glossy magazine devoted to FM and other invisible illnesses. After leaving the NFA, Karen served as the Guide to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the New York Times website About.com, and then for eight years as the Chronic Pain Health Guide for The HealthCentral Network.To learn more about Karen, see "Meet Karen Lee Richards."

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