Funding of £90,000 will be provided for a Scottish university to host a new Ph.D studentship focussed on improving understanding of ME – a condition characterised by long-term fatigue and other symptoms that can make it more difficult for a person to carry on their daily life.
The studentship, jointly funded by Scottish Government and Action for ME, is in response to calls from ME organisations for increased research into the condition.
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.”
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Sonya Chowdhury, Action for M.E. 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."
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Action for ME has previously received £300,000 from the Scottish Government’s Transforming Self-Management Fund, for the Inform ME Scotland project. This project will develop a peer-mentoring, self-management support network – to build confidence and reduce isolation in people affected by M.E.
M.E. is a chronic, fluctuating, neurological condition, often diagnosed within the NHS as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or M.E./CFS. It affects 20,000 people in Scotland. People with M.E. score lower overall on health-related quality of life tests than most other chronic conditions and one-in-four people with M.E. are house- and/or bed-bound, unable to manage even basic self-care.