Our response to the updated NICE guideline

Today’s publication by NICE of its updated ‘Myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy)/chronic fatigue syndrome: diagnosis and management’ clinical guideline marks a significant step in both the acceptance of ME as a physical illness and the recognition of appropriate treatment needs of those affected by the condition.

We broadly welcome this significant update and improvement to the previous 14-year-old document, but it marks only the beginning of the transformation needed for ME to be more fully understood and, ultimately, for a cure to be found.

NICE’s recommendations highlight the need for research into diagnostic criteria and tests, as well as health-outcome measures, but these will not be fulfilled without researchers, healthcare professionals and funders working together to understand the causes of the illness and the effects it has on bodily systems.

Research from numerous studies informed the changes to the guideline, but it is clear that further progress depends on increased research and the availability of funding to make this work a reality. This is where ME Research UK stands ready.

Having invested over £2 million in worldwide research to date, with 10 ongoing studies, 2 newly funded projects starting this month and PhD funding available, we have funded more high-quality biomedical research into ME than any other charitable body outside the USA.

To date, the research we have funded has centred around the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, the circulatory system, the brain, genetics and mitochondrial dysfunction – all vital areas of research about the causes of ME. However, these results need to be built upon by those currently working in ME and those in other fields so that more vital breakthroughs can be made.