FUNDING of £90,000 has been announced for research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of a little-understood illness that blights the lives of at least 20,000 Scots.
The money will fund a new PhD studentship focused on improving understanding of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
ME, sometimes known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a debilitating neuro-immune disease which causes symptoms including profound fatigue and cognitive impairment.
It can strike people of all ages and devastate previously healthy and active lives, but despite this there is no effective treatment available on the NHS and no ME specialists in Scotland’s hospitals.
The studentship, jointly funded by Scottish Government and Action for ME, is in response to calls from campaigners for increased research into the condition.
They are also pressing for local health boards to fund specialist ME nurses and for more education and training on the illness for healthcare staff.
Sonya Chowdhury, Action for ME chief executive, said: “This devastating neurological condition steals the lives of 20,000 men, women and children in Scotland, one in four of whom are so severely ill that they are remain hidden from view in darkened rooms, unable to bear even gentle hugs.
“Only by working collaboratively can we address the urgent needs of these vulnerable patients, including the need to advance biomedical research.
“We are delighted to work with the Chief Scientist Office in encouraging early-career scientists to move this field forward.”
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “We want people living with ME to access the best possible care and support, and have listened closely to their views on how we can ensure that.
“That is why we are funding this new post – to support the development of new and effective approaches to diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
“We are committed to working with partners such as Action for ME to both increase our understanding of ME, and improve the support available for those living with it.”