Grant will energize research into chronic fatiguehttp://www.expressnews.ualberta.ca/article.cfm?id=9867 January 6, 2009 - Edmonton- Chronic fatigue sufferers feel extreme exhaustion day in and day out for an extended period. The laundry list of symptoms also includes memory loss, flu-like symptoms, a sore throat, and headaches. University of Alberta researcher Gordon Broderick is hoping to help people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and recently took a big step in getting there. The Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Association of America awarded Broderick with a one-year $125,000 grant, which will allow him to study Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at a molecular level. "It's nice to see that there's a potential here to be able to help people directly," said Broderick, who said the grant is a vote of confidence in his work because CFIDS is the largest patient- advocacy group for chronic-fatigue sufferers. CFS is a relatively unknown syndrome. Broderick says it is often a diagnosis of exclusion, which means that if the patient doesn't have symptoms that fit an established diagnosis, often that patient is labeled with CFS by default."We want to go from a medieval understanding of the illness to the ability to characterize it very specifically at the molecular level," said Broderick. "In doing so, [we can] establish recognition for CFS as an actual disease or family of diseases." Broderick, along with colleagues in the United States, will perform analysis on a cohort of teens between the ages 13 and 16 who have recently had mononucleosis. He wants to know if these adolescents are predisposed to the disease or if they acquire the infection in a lowered immune state, because CFS often follows mononucleosis. "We're going to be looking at the intracellular level; we're going to be looking at gene expression in the immune cells," said Broderick. Broderick's ultimate goal is to find a cure for CFS, but before that happens, his research team wants to be able to diagnose the syndrome. They would like to identify certain biomolecules so that when a patient is diagnosed with mononucleosis a simple blood test can tell them if they'll have trouble recovering. "This would allow us to screen the patient and pay more attention to your progression and your recovery from the viral infection," said Broderick. The professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is in an interesting situation as he embarks on this new research. He is not trained in the field of medicine, but is a chemical engineer. He says it works because he's trained in chemical systems and the body is "just one big chemical reactor." He's the second appointment of this type at the University of Alberta and as far as he's concerned his background will help find answers for chronic fatigue sufferers. "We look at problems in different ways and we have different skills. I think it's time to band together and fuse those skills and focus them on a problem." Related Internal Links Gordon Broderick's U of A website:http://www.departmentofmedicine.ualberta.ca/prg/broderick.html Related External Links The Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Association of America http://www.cfids.org/
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