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Nanoelectric device could lead to a blood test for ME/CFS

Electrical impedance trace for samples from a patient and a control

Last week, Dr Ron Davis’s team published a pilot study showing remarkable results for their nanoneedle device. Strikingly, there was no overlap between the results for 20 ME/CFS patients and those for 20 healthy controls, something that is almost never seen with this illness.

The nanoelectric blood test

The research used nanomanufacturing techniques to embed large numbers of tiny electrodes within a silicon wafer. Each electrode, or nanoneedle, is comparable in size to a cell…

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Something in the blood

Remarkably, four independent groups have now found evidence that a factor in the blood can affect cell metabolism/mitochondria in ME/CFS and transfer the effect to healthy cells. Here is a summary of the provisional findings.

Fluge & Mella

The first to find the effect were Dr Oystein Fluge and Professor Olav Mella in 2016.

They were studying energy production in the cell, a logical thing to do when trying to understand an illness where energy is in such short supply…

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A brightening future: the state of ME/CFS research

Although there are no treatments for ME/CFS on the horizon, things are looking up thanks to recent findings and a substantial increase in the amount of high-quality research. The field still needs much more funding.

As a result, things feel a bit flat right now for patients. People with ME remain desperate for treatments but there is no clear path to effective therapies. Yet I’m optimistic that things will improve. The ME/CFS research field is the strongest it’s been and there are good reasons to expect progress in understanding the illness – understanding that should drive the development of treatments.

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