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Research Update
1: Introduction
2: Psychological or organic?
3: Digestive problems
4: Diversity in CFS
5: Fatty acids
6: Conclusion

Talking Point
June 2001
In this issue:

Vice-President’s Report
Pesticide Blues
Was it something you ate?
Research Update
Medical Seminar (Aug 25)
Support Groups

An update on ME/CFS research at the University of Newcastle

Summary of lecture delivered May 12

By Dr Hugh Dunstan

Dr Hugh Dunstan spoke at a public meeting on May 12, 2001, at Urrbrae Education Centre


What I would like to talk about today are new advances in CFS research in symptom presentation, homeostasis and the host response in the body, and a new way of thinking about the disease entity in terms of common aspects that occur in the majority of patients. This leads to concepts of nutrient support and effective patient management. I would like to finish by presenting some concepts of evolution and infection.


Many of the core symptoms of CFS, like fatigue and muscle pain, are non-specific in nature, indicating a generalised host response to pathogenic challenge. While these symptoms are associated with an infection, none are useful in characterising a disorder. The definition of CFS is one of exclusion, but there are many general features of this host response system that are relevant to CFS patients.

In our work with multivariate statistics, we look at the whole range of symptoms and try to group people in terms of complex symptom profiles. A graphic analysis of this data shows the controls all clustered together. The CFS patients with fatigue only can be separated, but specifically those patients with fatigue and pain can be very well separated. Different symptoms can be grouped to reduce the amount of information to help construct a clinical management program for the patient.

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