Griffith Health turns purple and blue

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

The Griffith Health Centre on Griffith’s Gold Coast campus will be lit up each evening from 11 -17 May to raise awareness of neurological conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (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 and Emerging Diseases (NCNED), which is dedicated to research on the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system and is led by one of Australia’s foremost authorities on CFS, Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik.

Otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), CFS is a highly debilitating disorder characterised by profound fatigue, muscle and joint pain, cerebral symptoms of impaired memory and concentration, impaired cardiovascular function, gut disorder and sensory dysfunction such as noise intolerance and balance disturbance. Many cases can continue 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 biomedical researchers, 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 this patient group as well as contributing to the betterment of humanity,” says Professor Marshall-Gradisnik from the Griffith Health Institute.

Minister for Science and Innovation Ian Walker said the awareness day is a chance to celebrate the enormous contribution that Professor Marshall-Gradisnik and the Griffith Health 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’re getting closer to finding an effective treatment.”

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

Facilities at the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases are set to be 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 being conducted with participants which has shown a strong association between the condition and a dysfunctional immune system.

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

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

* May 12 has been designated as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND) since 1992. The diseases included in CIND 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 to have suffered from ME/CFS.