Beware and Be Aware! ME/CFS Researcher Breaks Out: Who the Heck is Maureen Hanson?


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
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[/fright]Who is this mild looking chronic fatigue syndrome researcher? Before XMRV she had never done anything on ME/CFS. Then, out of nowhere, she scored a big NIH grant. Then she scored another one!

Then she got hooked up with the Chronic Fatigue Initiative and is doing at least two mitochondrial studies with them.

In the past two weeks she's published two articles - one in The Hill, a Congressional online magazine, and one in the Huffington Post "Be Aware and Beware: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an Equal Opportunity Disease" both saying more ME/CFS funding is vitally needed.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS, is an innocuous name given to a debilitating disease. Its seriousness is better indicated by the term Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), a label preferred by many of its victims
She is a researcher who's not afraid to reach out to the media to advocate for ME/CFS (that's pretty darn rare).
Thus, the Centers for Disease Control cannot recommend any precautions one could take to avoid falling victim to this illness. CFS/ME can strike the young and old, the rich, the poor, athletes, writers, actors, film directors, journalists—whether anyone is immune is not known.....

The National Institute of Health (NIH) spending for research on the illness has ranged from a mere $5 to 6 million a year, compared to $98 million for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), or $3000 million for HIV/AIDS.....Such low funding ensures that progress is very slow. Yet, the disease continues to claim new victims daily.

And she can write:
Anyone who binge-watches the TV show Discovery Life: Mystery Diagnosis will soon detect a pattern, one that demonstrates the need for improvements in medical training. A typical show might have a young woman suddenly taken violently ill with an apparent stomach flu. But instead of getting better, she continues feeling nauseated and weak. She has to drop out of college. At home she develops a myriad of symptoms—such as night sweats, sore throat, swollen glands, and difficulty reading and speaking. She visits a doctor, who tells her she has strep throat.

Despite antibiotics, she doesn’t get better, then goes to an internist, who tells her she should see a psychiatrist. This continues on for several more scenes—sometimes several years in the life of the ill person whose story is being told—as one after another wrong diagnosis is made.....Finally a smart doctor figures out what is wrong, and is identified by name and appears on the show. The grateful young woman now has a diagnosis, and sometimes a treatment, often leading to a happy ending.

Such could be a show made to describe Laura Hillenbrand’s journey to a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, as described in her vivid, and often shocking, New Yorker article. But while she eventually did receive the correct diagnosis, she didn’t get a happy ending. For there is no effective treatment for most victims of the disease, and she remains ill and rarely able to leave her house.

Maureen Hanson

[/fleft]Who is Maureen Hanson? She's the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics at Cornell. She received a B.S. degree at Duke University and a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from none other than Harvard University.

She's a plant biologist with a keen interest in organelles such a chloroplasts and the mitochondria. In fact, her work prior to getting involved with ME/CFS involved plants not humans.

Once she got interested in ME/CFS her work took off. She's been remarkably successful at getting funded. She's currently characterizing the microbiome in the gut and blood of ME/CFS patients, she's charting differences in gene expression following exercise and characterizing mitochondrial genetics and functioning. She's also, with Mady Hornig, Konstance Knox and Dr. Peterson, a member of the Simmaron Research Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board.

Maureen Hanson is getting around. She, like Dr. Naviaux, is another example of a new researcher who's clearly gotten bitten by the ME/CFS bug...
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