The Colloquium on ME/CFS Biomedical Research which took place on Monday 3rd July 2006 at Glasgow Caledonian University was particularly targeted at scientific and healthcare professionals with a working interest in ME/CFS. Hosted by Dr Lorna Paul, Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Glasgow Caledonian University and HealthQWest Research Fellow, and organised and sponsored by ME Research UK and the Irish ME Trust, the aims of the day were to facilitate links between scientists working towards the common goal of understanding the biomedical basis of ME/CFS, and to raise awareness of the need for biomedical investigation.
After a welcome and introduction by Prof. Brian Durward (Dean School of Health and Social Care, Glasgow Caledonian University), there were scientific presentations from Prof. Jill Belch (Vascular Diseases Research Unit, University of Dundee), Prof. Myra Nimmo (Department of Applied Physiology, University of Strathclyde), Dr Les Wood (Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University), Dr Vance Spence (ME Research UK), a keynote lecture by Dr Jo Nijs (Department of Human Physiology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium), Dr Jonathan Kerr (Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, St George’s University of London), Dr Julia Newton (School of Clinical Medical Sciences, University of Newcastle), Dr Lorna Paul (Glasgow Caledonian University), and Dr John Gow (University Department of Neurology, University of Glasgow). Prof. Basant Puri, who had been scheduled to speak, was unfortunately unable to attend. The day was rounded off with an afternoon workshop on Physiotherapeutic Aspects of ME/CFS led by Dr Lorna Paul and Dr Jo Nijs.
Dr Vance Spence, Chairman of ME Research UK, said the following in his closing remarks:
This was the first Colloquium of its kind, and it also marked the official launch of our new working name — ME Research UK — a title which more clearly reflects our major focus. The number of attendees for this first Colloquium was necessarily limited to 60, but given the speed at which places were filled and the success of the day, we have decided to make this the first in a series of larger conferences on biomedical aspects of ME/CFS so that greater numbers of people from a wide spectrum of disciplines can attend and benefit from the presentations, debates and workshops. Biomedical, as opposed to psychosocial, research into ME/CFS is vital. And it’s not being done, despite the fact that between 0.2 and 0.4% of people in the UK and many more across the globe have this illness. Our aim in this Colloquium was to get researchers talking and, globally, to concentrate minds on this neglected area of scientific research.