Dr Mady Hornig on why the microbiome is so important in ME/CFS (NIH P2P workshop)

When Dr Hornig addressed the NIH/Pathways to Prevention (P2P) workshop on 10 December she highlighted why the team at the Center for Infection and Immunity think the gut microbiome is critical in ME/CFS. As if you need any more reasons to support the crowdfund appeal!

Dr Mady Hornig. Photo courtesy of the Columbia University Center for Infection and Immunity

Dr Mady Hornig.
Photo courtesy of the Columbia University Center for Infection and Immunity

Here’s a transcript of the start of her talk, together with the full video of her presentation:


“I’ll speak about immune factors in chronic fatigue syndrome.

We have been thinking about immune-mediated brain disorders as a wide range of disorders that are due to interaction between the brain and the immune system.

We’re very interested in the microbiome in this story and [we’re] thinking about the intestinal microbes that condition the immune system and create metabolites that are neuroactive and that may play an important role in the development of chronic fatigue syndrome.

We have an enormous number of neuropsychiatric disorders that we consider to be due to brain-immune interactions, at least in a subset, ranging from autism to depression and schizophrenia as well as ME/CFS.

There is a wide range of infectious factors we have thought of as triggers for this process.

And so not only gut microbes but also implicated are herpes viruses, including Epstein Barr virus, HHV-6 and a wide range of other viruses.

Microbes of course are important for normal brain function as well. We know that germ-free mice have abnormal cognition. They don’t have normal anxiety responses.

And so microbes are really critical, so we don’t only think of them as offending agents, but in the context of the symptom complex that we see in chronic fatigue syndrome, we’re trying to understand what goes awry.”

Go to 1 hour 46 mins to watch Dr Hornig’s presentation:

If the embedded video doesn’t work, click here to watch video in a new windo (Dr Hornig’s talk starts a 1 hour 46 mins)