Now Recruiting Additional Participants and Bedbound and Severely Ill!

Richard Podell, MD

Center For Disease Control’s Research on CFS:

For the last two years, 50 of our patients have been part of a study on CFS sponsored by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). While disagreeing on some points, I have been very favorably impressed by Elizabeth Unger, MD, Ph.D. and her capable staff. They are genuinely dedicated to better understanding CFS as a severe and physical illness.

For year three (2014), a main project will be to do a metabolic exercise stress test on about 300 patients nation-wide. This study has two goals; to understand the biochemistry of what happens when a person with CFS exercises; and to document the effects of exercise on cognitive abilities. Patients will be asked to do short cognitive tests before, immediately after and for 24 hours after the exercise.

The physician experts group recommended that we do two consecutive days of stress testing to document the decrease in physical abilities that occurs as the result of exercise. We think this is very important, as it would document the validity of our patients’ reports that modest exercise causes a prolonged flare-up of symptoms. Unfortunately, the budget for 2014 had been set many months before. Dr. Unger and her group had no control over this. Hopefully, our lobbying this year will impress CDC as they plan for 2015.

CDC is allowing us to recruit a number of additional patients to the 50 we are currently studying at our site. New patients would be asked to complete a rather large number of standardized questionnaires that measure pain, sleep, fatigue, psychology. These can be done over a week. They would also do the metabolic stress test/cognitive testing—probably early this spring. (CDC plans to fly in an experienced metabolic stress testing team for a week.)

If you or someone you know with ME/CFS, might want to participate, please contact us by email:

Richard Podell, M.D. Posted 11/22/2103

Addendum – posted 11/26/13

The CDC has also asked us to try to help identify persons with CFS who are basically homebound i.e. can only leave their homes for short intervals, and as a result don’t obtain basic medical care.  If we could locate such patients in New Jersey , I expect we could probably find a way to either transport them to our office or send a clinician out to their home to help evaluate them. Especially important would be to rule out conditions other than CFS, and to try to link these people to some kind of services.

If any members are largely housebound due to CFS or know of persons who are, I’d very much appreciate hearing from you. at

Richard Podell, MD


Now Recruiting Participants – Bedbound and Severely Ill!

Benjamin Natelson, MD

Details of all our studies can be found on our website –>

There are two ongoing studies.

1) Sponsored by CDC who has asked us to reach out to find severely affected, bedridden CFS patients to complete our questionnaires and undergo physical exam.  CDC wants to study these patients because little is known about them due to their marked disability.  Based on their location, the Center nurse practitioner would try to come to their homes. If the patient were able to come to our offices on Union Square in Manhattan, that’d be even better.  Filling out the questionnaires would take several hours, but they don’t all have to be completed on the initial visit — just within a week’s time.

2) Funded by NIH and requires patients to come to our Center and to Cornell’s Imaging Center down the street from us.  This study looks at brain function and chemistry and so requires patients to come off all brain-active medications for at least a week before study.  We would very much like patients to allow us to do a spinal tap to collect spinal fluid, the material closest to the brain which we think is the problem organ in CFS.  But this is not an absolute necessity.  These patients will be offered one month of treatment with a neutriceutical [N-Acety Cysteine] which we hypothesize will improve CFS symptoms.  Patients volunteering for this study are asked to come back to the city for repeat testing after the treatment.

Patients interested in either study should go to the  website to download, complete and then send in the HEALTH SCREEN FORM.  After we have received it and reviewed it, we will contact each interested person about next steps.

The only way to deal with CFS is to understand it better.  This can’t happen without the active participation of CFS patients. Again our thanks for helping this to happen.

Benjamin H. Natelson, MD Director                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pain & Fatigue Study Center, Beth Israel Medical Center                                                                                          Professor of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Posted 11/17/2013

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