New CFS Study on Brain Blood
Dr. Benjamin Natelson and the New
Jersey CFS/FM Center associated with UNDMJ, has begun study of "brain blood flow
during postural challenges in CFS."
Natelson is currently looking for
people with CFS as well as healthy controls to participate in this study. Those
interested must first complete a confidential health screening form.
The purpose of the study is to
understand why standing produces a worsening of symptoms in many CFS patients.
This experiment is based on two experimentally determined facts. Fact #1:
patients on the more severe end of the CFS illness spectrum have cardiac
capacities that are less than patients on the less severe end of the illness
spectrum. In other words, they have a reduced ability of the heart to provide
blood to vital organs, which may explain why effort worsens symptoms in CFS.
Fact #2: some CFS patients have reduced brain blood flow compared to healthy
controls, which may be even worse while standing.
These two facts suggest a biological
basis for chronic fatigue and for why symptoms worsen when patients stand for
prolonged periods of time. This study focuses on the relation of heart function
to brain blood flow and the effects of standing on brain blood flow.
The study employs functional
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. To receive an MRI scan a person
must lay in a confined space, so claustrophia is an exclusion for this study.
The presence of metal in the body (e.g. metal pins) is another exclusion.
Although subjects participating in
functional neuroimaging have to lie flat on their backs, Natelson has developed
an experimental method that mimics standing called "lower body negative
pressure"—allowing researchers to see the relation between heart function and
brain blood flow during simulated standing.
Dr. Natelson is the Director of the
NJ CFS/FM Center and Principal Investigator for the national CFS/FM Center grant
from the National Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) that
funds the Center's Research Branch. He is a Professor of Neurosciences at
the New Jersey Medical School, with a long history of professional
accomplishments. Dr. Natelson has published two books: Facing and Fighting
Fatigue and Tomorrow's Doctors.
How to get involved: