In good news for people who suffer from chronic fatigue, Griffith University and the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service (GCHHS) are to give priority to fighting the debilitating condition.

Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA) Director-General Andrew Garner said this would be welcomed by the thousands of Australians suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and the related myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

“Chronic Fatigue Syndrome affects around 250,000 Australians. The condition can be crippling, with many people barely able to move, let alone go to work and earn a living,” Mr Garner said.

Notoriously difficult to diagnose

“To make matters worse, the condition is notoriously difficult to diagnose, meaning that people can go for months without getting the care and attention they require.

“Unfortunately, it also carries a stigma — that there’s nothing wrong with you, especially when your GP can’t find the cause of your condition. But it is real for far too many people.

“Griffith University and the GCHHS recently established the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases on the coast, with an emphasis on researchers working with clinicians and patients on effective research outcomes,” he said.

“The new centre, dedicated to research on the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system and led by one of Australia’s foremost authorities on CFS/ME Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik, will give priority to this important research.”

In a two-year study of over 300 people with the disability, Professor Marshall-Gradisnik from Griffith’s School of Medicine found a strong association between the condition and a dysfunctional immune system.

Gold Coast Health Board Chairman Mr Ian Langdon said recent commitments by major funders and benefactors and key government support meant that they could now make this research a priority.

Griffith University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (Health) Professor Allan Cripps said the development of the research centre was a milestone in an evolving university-health services partnership.

“The National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases brings to fruition years of research effort culminating in extensive research, academic publications and provides significant insights as to the potential pathology in this disorder,” Professor Cripps said.

“Together we can achieve much more than either entity alone.

“In particular we have already achieved extraordinary success in the immunological area in CFS/ME and expect to have further significant findings by our research team,” he said.