Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

June 2005

Dr. Benjamin Natelson, M.D., professor of neurosciences at the University of New Jersey Medical School, is a highly respectedMyalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) researcher. He recently, using a new technology called proteomic profiling, has found abnormal proteins in the spinal fluid of ME/CFS patients.

The purpose of his research is to seek possible causes and diagnostic markers for ME/CFS.

In the early stages of this research, he has already found at least 5 "CFS-related alterations... in both the high and low molecular weight ranges." One of the proteins "that is present in all healthy controls... appears absent or reduced in 81% of CFIDS patients." Dr. Natelson, in the next phase of his research, is seeking to identify this protein. Likely candidates are a thryroid hormone transport protein and a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. The protein alterations could explain various ME/CFS symptoms, including exhaustion, cognition and memory problems, and neural aberrations.

Dr. Natelson wishes to continue and broaden his research to test the spinal fluids of more ME/CFS patients and controls to determine if a CFIDS-specific altered protein profile exists and if such a profile can be used as a diagnostic marker.

Although his work is in its early stages, it seems like a valuable line of research since the spinal fluid may provide access to determining organic changes in the brain.

Notice about names

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently using ME/CFS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are calling the illness CFS.

Until there is consensus on a name for the illness, the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association name will not change.