by John Cohen

“In the wake of mounting criticism that researchers pay scant attention to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced that it is increasing efforts to figure out what causes the baffling illness and to find treatments for it.

NIH Director Francis Collins told Science that some investigators have long shied away from studying ME/CFS because it has been a “tumultuous” research arena, with high-profile leads that imploded and a vocal advocacy community. The attitude among many researchers has been “maybe this is an unsolvable problem, let’s just work on something else,” Collins says. “I’m happy to say we’re countering that attitude rather strongly here.”

NIH has not committed new funding to ME/CFS research, but its Clinical Center plans to launch a study of people shortly after they develop related symptoms from a probable but as yet unidentified infection. (Symptoms of the disease range from neurological and cognitive problems to immune and sleep abnormalities.) NIH also is moving oversight of ME/CFS research from the Office of Research on Women’s Health to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).”

Read the full article in Science…