International ME Research Collaboration (IMERC):
International Science Symposium on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ME/CFS
3-4 December 2010
Population Health and Neuroimmunology Unit
Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine
Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia
in collaboration with Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation, Sydney, Australia http://www.ahmf.org/
The International ME Research Collaboration has been established comprising distinguished researchers and clinicians in neuroscience, immunology, primary care and public health.
The International ME Research Collaboration (IMERC) confirms the strong and convincing scientific evidence of immune dysregulation in ME/CFS. Research will be encouraged into the blood-brain and other neural barriers, glial and neural cell histopathology, and neurotransmitter function including recently discovered neuropeptide function.
IMERC identified key priorities:
• The name myalgic encephalomyelitis ME would be adopted to better reflect the science and seriousness of the clinical picture in preference to the misleading label of chronic fatigue syndrome CFS.
• There is a need for internationally accepted post-mortem protocols and specific ME Brain and Tissue Banks aligned with the proposed development at Essex Neurosciences Queen’s Hospital, Essex, and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK.
• There is an urgent need to build capacity in both clinical services and biomedical research examining pathomechanisms of ME. The group identified significant discrimination experienced by people with ME as well as the derived stigma for health professionals who care for them and those who conduct related research.
• There is a need to develop national ME patient registries with long term documentation of the disease course and linked as an international resource.
• In the absence of approved drugs for the treatment of ME the “off label “ use of appropriate drugs is endorsed by clinicians experienced in treating patients with ME.
• The Canadian ME/CFS Consensus Guidelines (Carruthers et al 2003) for diagnosis and treatment should be adopted internationally.
IMERC will pursue a vigorous exciting ME research agenda including neuroimaging of the brain, development and validation of biomarkers, immune and gastrointestinal function studies, long term monitoring of clinical presentations and experimental animal models.