Exercise Research Taking Off: UK Funds Effort To Target Effects of Exercise on ME/CFS Brain


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Exercise Research Taking Off

Along the an immune study and autonomic nervous system study the MRC in the UK is funding a brain study to examine what happens in the brain networks after exercise. The hypothesis is that exercise sends the immune cells in the brain - the microglia - into a tizzy - pumping out pro-inflammatory cytokines.

This study will determine how brain networks including those involving the insula - are involved.
The CDC is also looking into the effects of exercise on lactate, cognition and gene expression. The Canadians and Dr. Enlander have their own exercise studies going, plus several researchers are working on validating the Japanese PET neuroinflammation results. Exercise is getting tied into a host of problems.

This study

Three scientists – Dr Mark Edwards, a neurologist at the Motor Neurosciences and Movement Disorders Unit, UCL Institute of Neurology, Dr Neil Harrison from the University of Sussex and Dr James Kilner at University College London – will be carrying out this study.
  • Twenty people with ME/CFS and 20 age- and sex- matched controls will have a baseline functional MRI scan and blood samples taken (for immune system activation measurements).
  • They will then have exercise to induce PEM.
  • There will also be a difficult cognitive challenge using what is known as the Stroop test.
  • The scans and blood tests will be repeated 24 hours later.
  • In relation to the fMRI scans, these will look in particular for evidence of activation in key brain structures such as the dorsal insula.

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