December 6, 2006
Contact Larry Parker
Phone: (973) 972-7265
Female Volunteers Sought For NIH-Supported Study
Pain and Fatigue Study Center
Researching Link Between Immune Function, CFS
NEWARK — The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. are supporting an ongoing study by the UMDNJ Pain and Fatigue Study Center to further investigate the clinical nature of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The study will require some 80 female volunteers in the New York/New Jersey area for a successful outcome. The researchers hope that their work will lead to better understanding of this often disabling illness.
The research team, led by Dr. Benjamin Natelson, a professor of neurosciences at New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), theorizes that the cause of CFS may be related to a type of substance in the blood called cytokines, which are related to immune function and which can specifically affect feelings of alertness. Dr. Natelson hypothesizes that cytokines may be malfunctioning in people with CFS - for example, those cytokines that in healthy people would cause them to become tired at night and awake during the day may make those with CFS sleepy during the day and “wired” at night.
A successful outcome could lead to therapies that could “rebalance” patients’ immune systems. Because about three of every four cases of CFS affect women - and because cytokine levels are also affected by gender - the study is only seeking women volunteers at this time. Researchers would like to study a mix of women diagnosed with CFS and women who are healthy, but lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle. (Vigorous exercise also affects cytokine levels.) Finding healthy women to volunteer for this study is critical, so the researchers have a proper basis for comparison.
Volunteers will be asked to sleep in a research lab at The University Hospital in Newark on three to four nights, to be completed over a few months. Volunteers will be compensated for their time, depending on the circumstances of their medical history, and will also receive a travel allowance. All medical treatment will be free.
Researchers want to emphasize the painful and very real nature of CFS, which has produced many misconceptions in the popular media. CFS is only rarely related to viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus. However, it is strongly correlated with conditions such fibromyalgia, involving pain throughout the body. Fibromyalgia, like CFS, can be treated but presently has no cure.
“People are really disabled by these conditions - people who previously had been healthy, capable, high-functioning individuals,” said Dr. Natelson.
If you or a family member may be interested in participating in the study, please contact FitzGibbons at (973) 972-4800 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on CFS may be found on UMDNJ’s Web site at http://www.umdnj.edu/cfs.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.