By Matt Butler in Ithaca Times.
Two professors from Cornell University and Ithaca College are combining on a study taking on one of the world’s strangest ongoing medical phenomena, a disease that affects more than a million people in the United States yet largely remains a confounding mystery.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, commonly referred to as ME/CFS, is a debilitating disease that can often leaves its victims bedridden for months and years on end, without much hope in sight. Patients suffer a range of symptoms, marked most prominently by severe fatigue, chronic pain and flu-like symptoms, which must last at least six months before ME/CFS can be properly diagnosed. The nature of the disease, and the behavior it manifests, lends itself to doubt from observers. Victims are dismissed as dawdling layabouts, suffering from a lack of motivation or laziness instead of an actual medical condition, leading to a lack of attention and funding to address and investigate the illness.
Cornell’s Maureen Hanson and Ithaca College’s Betsy Keller, who received a $9.4 million grant from the National Institute of Health to establish a center of research on ME/CFS, may be part of a changing tide. They are one of three center grants that were funded by NIH, which is also sending money to The Jackson Laboratory in Connecticut and Columbia University in New York for research into different aspects of the disease.
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