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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis /Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a chronic condition without a diagnostic test and some 80 - 90% of patients remain un-diagnosed. A new paper published in Frontiers in Medicine outlines how having a diagnostic test could greatly help both patients and medics.


ME/CFS is a devastating disease that affects over 250,0001 individuals in the UK, yet there is no reliable biomarker and diagnosis is based on manifesting clinical symptoms, coupled with high inter-patient variability. 

Developing an early diagnostic test is of fundamental importance in the treatment of any illness. In ME/CFS a diagnostic test would help not only  in the clinical management of patients and but give patients hope that we are moving closer to understanding a condition which is currently very much a mystery illness.

Using modern statistical approaches and machine learning Dr Karl Morten in collaboration with  Professor Elisa Oltra (Universidad Catolica de Valencia San Vicente Martir – UCV have identified a series of variables including the micro RNA’s of blood cells and small extracellular vesicles which can distinguish a group of severe ME/CFS patients from healthy controls with 100% accuracy. These two groups cannot be readily separated by a standard blood test. Standard tests return as negative for the severely ill group

 Their next step is to apply this approach to mild and moderately affected ME/CFS patients with different levels of disability and compare to other disease groups as well as healthy controls. This will determine if we have a potential panel of biomarkers which could be used to developed a diagnostic test. 

You can read the paper here: "Diagnosis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome With Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis: Relevance of Blood Extracellular Vesicles"




The ultimate aim of the Morten research group is to bring forward the day when ME/CFS can be cured, through cutting-edge biomedical research. To help achieve this they are crowdfunding for the following five projects:

  1. ME/CFS patients treated with extremely low cold dry air temperatures show improvement for 3 months, but decline by 12 months. Can we identify what is changing in their blood and test if this causes symptom changes?
  2. Blood associated PBMC miRNA and extracellular vesicles show promise as potential biomarkers when comparing severe ME/CFS patient with controls. We will run a validation study with mild and moderately affected patients.
  3. Expand testing to take more samples longitudinally, with clinical assessment using wearable monitors. This will involve our current clinical ME/CFS, Chronic Lyme and Long Covid research project aiming to identify possible causal factors.
  4. A Pilot study in Long Covid looking for alterations in blood extracellular vesicles and PBMCs.
  5. Searching for bacteria, fungal and viral pathogens in PANS PANDAS patients.


(ME/CFS), Chronic Lyme, Long Covid and PANS PANDAS affect over 100 million people worldwide, but remain a puzzle to doctors. The diagnosis of ME/CFS and Chronic Lyme is difficult and their causes are uncertain. Long Covid - a new condition associated with Covid 19 - can potentially help us unlock other conditions associated with infections. PANS PANDAS is often mis-diagnosed as a functional neurological disorder because we have been unable to identify a causal agent.

Research into the causes of the above conditions has been limited due to lack of funding or the fact they are completely new conditions. We have recently identified clear differences in various factors in the blood of ME/CFS patients that suggest an underlying biological cause. Please consider donating to our Crowdfunding campaign to support this vital work. You can make a single or recurring gift and UK tax-payers may reclaim tax on this donation depending on the tax threshold. All online donations are made via the University of Oxford's donation page. 

If you can give any amount to our Crowdfunding Campaign, it will be hugely supported, please click here