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Approximately 250,000 people in the UK are believed to suffer from ME: a serious neuro-immune disease for which there is currently no cure and few effective treatments. One in four sufferers are severely affected or housebound as a result of their condition, whilst ten percent of all the country's sufferers are children.
Some of those affected are unable to move, speak or swallow, but the most typical symptom of ME is post-exertional neuro-immune exhaustion. In these instances, a sufferer can become severely ill after carrying out even the most basic of mental or physical tasks - the effects of which can be felt for days or even weeks. ME, by its nature, is a fluctuating condition. The severity of these and other symptoms can wax and wane during any given day, week or month; and, over the years, sufferers may find themselves experiencing an unexpected number of remissions and relapses without any warning.
Previous studies have suggested that eighty percent of all sufferers from ME will never recover, they are more susceptible to other diseases such as cancer, and their life expectancy is twenty-four years less than the national average. And whilst there is a significant amount of scientific evidence and research into the disease and its effects, there is still no cohesive strategy for using this research to investigate effective and long-term treatments to help its sufferers.
However, all is not lost. There are charities out there who are willing to help, raising both awareness of the condition, and funding for future research. Invest in ME is one such charity within the UK, and every penny will go towards developing its most recent project: Let's Do It For ME!
Let's Do It For ME is a patient-driven campaign raising vital funds for a Centre of Excellence at the University of East Anglia, specialising in translational biomedical ME research. The centre aims to translate scientific findings and evidence from research into applicable treatments for people suffering from ME, focussing on immunology and virology. The proposals are amongst the most advanced possible, and will also provide training for future healthcare professionals.
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