The UK to launch the world's largest genetic study in chronic fatigue syndrome

The world's largest genetic study of chronic fatigue syndrome will be launched in the UK after receiving funding from the Medical Research Council and the National Institutes for Health Research for 2 3.2 million.

The research aims to shed light on the debilitating chronic condition by collecting DNA samples from 20,000 people, including CFS, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

CFS affects around 250,000 people in the UK and is estimated to cost the economy billions of pounds each year. Individuals experience fatigue that does not help them relax, one in four people is severely affected, they are unable to leave the house and, often, do not get out of their bed. Other symptoms include pain, mental numbness, sensitivity to light and noise, as well as difficulty with memory and sleep. There is no effective treatment.

DecodM is being studied in partnership with scientists and patients, including Andy Devereux-Cook. He said: "As a person living with ME / CFS, I know that the patient community has waited a long time for the study. This is such a strong and real aspect of the patient. We all know that. And let's hope that this can alleviate the lack of awareness. ”

The study supports the development of clinical trials and targeted therapies by highlighting small differences in a person's DNA, which may influence the risk of developing CFS and reveal the causes of the condition.

An equal number of samples can be compared to CFS non-matched controls, which can be pulled from UK Biobank.

Investigator Professor Chris Ponting, head of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, said: "Our focus is on DNA differences that increase the risk of a person with ME / CFS. This study is expected to transform ME / CFS research by incorporating much-needed evidence in this field. "

Those with CFS over the age of 16 and volunteering to sign up on the Study website can participate from home. When this begins, they will be mailed a collection kit and asked to return a saliva sample that is comparable to those in healthy controls.

Genome-wide association studies have previously helped to identify the biological origins of many other complex diseases, including type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

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