Griffith is shining the way in purple and blue this week to celebrate International ChronicImmunological and Neurological Diseases Day on Monday 12 May.

The Griffith Health Centre on Griffith’s Gold Coast campus will be lit up each eveningfrom 11 -17 May to raise awareness of neurological conditions such as Chronic FatigueSyndrome (CFS), as well as others such as Fibromyalgia and Gulf War Syndrome(GWS).

The Griffith Health Centre is home to the National Centre for Neuroimmunology andEmerging Diseases (NCNED), which is dedicated to research on the interaction betweenthe nervous system and the immune system and is led by one of Australia’s foremostauthorities on CFS, Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik.

Otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), CFS is a highly debilitatingdisorder characterised by profound fatigue, muscle and joint pain, cerebral symptoms ofimpaired memory and concentration, impaired cardiovascular function, gut disorder andsensory dysfunction such as noise intolerance and balance disturbance. Many cases cancontinue for months or years. It is believed to affect around 250,000 Australians.

International CFS Awareness Day

“International CFS Awareness Day is a recognised day where CFS biomedicalresearchers, such as myself, are able to reflect on the significant progress that
has been made in the area of the possible pathology of this illness, thereby helping thispatient group as well as contributing to the betterment of humanity,” says ProfessorMarshall-Gradisnik from the Griffith Health Institute.

Minister for Science and Innovation Ian Walker said the awareness day is a chance tocelebrate the enormous contribution that Professor Marshall-Gradisnik and the GriffithHealth Institute has made in tackling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

“Thanks to Griffith researchers, our understanding of CFS is increasing,” Mr Walker said.“This is good news for all those who suffer from this debilitating illness because we’regetting closer to finding an effective treatment.”

Mr Walker said the approach Griffith Health had taken in tackling CFS showed that whenresearchers work closely with clinicians and patients, they achieve effective researchoutcomes.

Facilities at the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases are set tobe extended in June 2014 with the opening of a specialised CFS Clinic.

The integrated facility will provide treatment to patients and build on the research beingconducted with participants which has shown a strong association between the conditionand a dysfunctional immune system.

“We now have the capacity, not only for advanced research but also the potential toprovide a clinical service to people who have been unable to find appropriate care in thepast,” says Professor Marshall-Gradisnik.

“Our research is leading the way internationally to uncover the causes of this illness andthe search for effective treatments based on our unique immunological discoveries.”

* May 12 has been designated as International Awareness Day for ChronicImmunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND) since 1992. The diseases included inCIND include Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS),Fibromyalgia (FM), Gulf War Syndrome(GWS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS)May 12 was chosen as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. She was believed tohave suffered from ME/CFS.