Griffith Bridge and Ian O’Connor Building light up for ME/CFS Awareness Day

Griffith University’s iconic bridge across the Smith Street Motorway and the Ian O’Connor Building will be illuminated in blue to mark International ME/CFS Awareness Day today.

“Griffith University is the world’s foremost research leader in understanding the pathology of ME/CFS,’’ said Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik, Scientific Director, from the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED).

“The symbolism of the Griffith University bridge being illuminated demonstrates the bridging of knowledge by NCNED researchers to the Ian O’Connor Building where the research takes place.”

NCNED aims to identify the pathology of CFS/ME, develop a suitable blood test and identify candidate drugs for possible treatments.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — or ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) — is a complex illness characterised by impaired memory and concentration, metabolic, cardiac, gut and immune dysfunction and debilitating muscle pain and fatigue on exertion (also known as neuroimmune exhaustion).

She said they were currently trialling a drug in the lab that they hope to take to clinical trials later in the year.

Clinical Director, Professor Donald Staines said, “Our research continues to demonstrate significant pathology in this highly disabling condition’.

“NCNED has identified changes in certain receptors known as transient receptor potential ion channels having a detrimental effect in cell function. These are genetic, biochemical and immunological changes.”

“All body systems are likely affected by this illness including the nervous system and cardiovascular system — which involve changes in calcium-signalling within cells. It often follows infection but is likely to be an adverse reaction to the infection rather than the infection itself.”

Professors Marshall-Gradisnik and Staines said they were encouraging everyone to post pictures of themselves wearing blue t-shirts to the Griffith CFS/ME Facebook page to show solidarity.