Building a Future for Research into ME IIMEC4

IIMEC4 London, May 2009

The 4th International ME/CFS Conference 2009 took place on 29th May 2009 in London and was attended by presenters and delegates from 14 countries and four continents.

The focus of the conference for 2009 was Severe ME, an attempt to raise more awareness of a group of patients who are not represented in research trials and misunderstood by healthcare services. Many believe that studying severe ME will have provide better opportunities to yield treatments and cures for this disease and have repercussions for other services including management of ME.

Following the successful IiME International ME/CFS conference in London in May 2008 which dealt with Sub Grouping and Treatments of ME/CFS the 2009 conference also looked at the subjects of the ME Clinic -

  • diagnosis of ME/CFS
  • diagnosis of ME/CFS
  • treatments for ME/CFS
  • epidemics of ME/CFS
  • news from the latest biomedical research into ME/CFS

The conference was robustly chaired by Professor Jonathan Brostoff whose knowledge of the area was used frequently in the question sessions.

Past IiME Conferences

IIMEC4 2009 was our fourth annual international conference for ME. The conference regularly attracts clinicians, researchers, healthcare staff, charities, support groups and patients and carers fromtwenty countries around the world.
This allows unique networking opportunities and increase the potential for one of the charity's main objectives - international collaboration between researchers.

IIMEC4 Conference Agenda 2009

Lecture Theatre Birdcage Walk

Conference Speakers

Senior Research Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Allergy and Environmental Health at Kings College, London

Jonathan Brostoff is Senior Research Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Allergy and Environmental Health at Kings College, London. He was the Foundation Professor of Allergy and Environmental Health and Director of the Centre for Allergy Research at University College London. Whilst at University College Hospital he was Physician in charge of the Allergy Clinic. He is recognized as a leading international authority on food allergy and intolerance. Professor Brostoff was involved in one of the few, and much-quoted Spect scan studies of ME patients [Brainstem perfusion is impaired in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Costa DC, Tannock C and Brostoff J. Quarterly Journal of Medicine 1995:88:767 773]

President of the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuroimmune Diseases, Reno, Nevada, USA

Founder and President of the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuroimmune Diseases, Reno, Nevada, USA. The Institute will be built on the medical campus of the University of Nevada. Its mission is to serve those with complex neuro-immune diseases such as ME/CFS, viral induced central nervous system dysfunction and fibromyalgia. Annette Whittemore graduated in Elementary and Special Education at the University of Nevada and taught children with neuro-cognitive deficits, such as those found in autism, ADD, and learning disabilities. As the director of the current operations at the Institute Annette supports the basic and clinical research program, and actively recruits physicians and other support personnel for the Institute.

Research Professor at the Institute for Molecular Medicine, Laguna Beach, California, USA.

President, Chief Scientific Officer and a Research Professor at the Institute for Molecular Medicine, Laguna Beach, California, USA. Conjoint Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Newcastle, Australia. Professor of Integrative Medicine, Capital University of Integrative Medicine, Washington DC. Professor Nicolson has published over 550 papers, three of them current content citation classics, and his recent publications include: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients subsequently diagnosed with Lyme Disease Borrelia burgdorferi: evidence for Mycoplasma species co-infections; Chronic infections in neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral diseases; New emerging infections: Their development, testing and resulting disease.

Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

Professor Nyland has seen several thousand ME patients, among them many severely ill. His recent research involves an ME/CFS Epidemic Following a Giardia lamblia Infection in Bergen. Professor Nyland was knighted in 2007 for his services of over 30 years for MS patients in Norway.

Sir Joseph Hotung Senior Lecturer in Inflammation, St George's University of London

Dr Jonathan Kerr Sir Joseph Hotung Senior Lecturer in Inflammation, St George's University of London. Dr Kerr is now the principal investigator in a programme of research in ME/CFS. This involves development of a diagnostic test using mass spectrometry, analysis of human and viral gene expression in the white blood cells, and clinical trials of immune-modulatory drugs. He has recently published research identifying distinct subtypes in patients with ME/CFS.

Location: Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

Barbara Baumgarten is the head of the recently opened ME-centre at Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, Norway. Dr Baumgarten has seen ME patients in her private practice since 1997 and has had responsibility for specialised medical services for ME patients. Dr Baumgarten is a board member of the Oslo branch of the Norwegian Medical Association. The ME Centre in Oslo is unique in that patients have been closely involved in its formation.

Director of the Human Performance Laboratory and Fatigue Clinic, The Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium

Co- author of the book 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Biological Approach' and his published works cover many aspects of ME/CFS. Current research involves the gut and ME/CFS. He has seen over 12000 ME/CFS patients and we are hoping of exciting new research findings to be presented at the conference.

Medical Director, Whittemore Peterson Institute, Reno, Nevada, USA

With over 25 years of medical practice, Dr Daniel L. Peterson has become a sought-after internist for diagnosing difficult and complex medical cases. When several patients in Incline Village became ill with symptoms that resembled persistent mononucleosis, Daniel Peterson was one of the first physicians to recognize an outbreak of what is known as ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). He became a pioneering physician and researcher in understanding the biological characteristics and methods for diagnosing, managing and treating ME/CFS. He has also performed major studies of Ampligen as a treatment for ME/CFS, and studying the possible role of human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) in CFS patients.

Professor and Consultant, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College School of Medicine, UK

Professor Basant Puri Professor and Consultant, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College School of Medicine Basant Puri is a Consultant and Professor at Hammersmith Hospital in London. He is also head of the Lipid Neuroscience Group at Imperial College and is the author of over 130 peer-reviewed medical and scientific papers and over 30 books.

Infectious Disease Specialist Torrance, California, USA

Dr John Chia Dr Chia is an infectious disease specialist practicing in Torrance, California, USA and has published research recently (Chronic fatigue syndrome associated with chronic enterovirus infection of the stomach) on the role of enteroviruses in the aetiolgy of ME/CFS – an area which has been implicated as one of the causes by a number of studies. There are more than 70 different types of enteroviruses that can affect the central nervous system, heart and muscles, all of which is consistent with the symptoms of ME/CFS. By analyzing samples of stomach tissue from 165 patients with CFS, Dr Chia's team discovered that 82% of these individuals had high levels of enteroviruses in their digestive systems. Dr Chia's research may result in the development of antiviral drugs to treat the debilitating symptoms of ME/CFS.

Research Director, Whittemore Peterson Institute, Nevada, USA

Dr Judy Mikovits obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from George Washington University. She is Research Director at the Whittemore Peterson Nevada CFS centre for Neuro-Immune disorders and has co-authored over 40 peer reviewed publications that address fundamental issues of viral pathogenesis, hematopoiesis and cytokine biology.

Open session

Conference Report

It was our pleasure to welcome Hillary Johnson as our guest in London for the Invest in ME pre-conference. Her presentation was on CDC's influence on ME Research Throughout the World.
The presentation was impressive and shocking, telling some of the inside story of how ME has been manipulated by a government agency.
This had so many parallels to the concerted campaign to misinform which had occurred in the UK over the years. Hillary's presentation will be available on our 2009 conference DVD but she has also added it to her web site -

The conference version of the Journal of IiME conatined all of the abstracts for the conference - [ - Journal of IiME.htm].

The Whittemore-Peterson Institute for Neuro-immune Diseases was represented with Annette Whittemore giving the conference keynote speech.

Dr Dan Peterson gave a comprehensive lecture based on his 25 years of clinical experience and the solid research using being performed at the WPI. This was followed by a presentation showing the dynamics and power of science by the WPI's research director Dr Judy Mikovits.
We looked forward to seeing this important work being published and validated.

Professor Garth Nicolson gave a very good overall lecture on the role of chronic infections and complex illnesses. His presentation was full of information to show the difficulties researchers and clinicians are faced with when meeting this group of patients.

Professor Nyland based his lecture on two recent epidemics in Norway. This has given researchers there a chance to do follow up studies on the patients who have remained ill with ME like illness. One outbreak was due to Giardia parasite and the other due to Legionella bacterium.

Dr Baumgarten showed us what can be done with public funds when politicians are supportive and patients' voice is being listened to. The importance of defining the patient base carefully using the Canadian consensus document was made clear and she confirmed the inadequacies of the NICE guidelines for diagnosis.

Dr Kerr had replicated and expanded on his previous gene expression work and he showed us his usual high quality research. His team has looked at various infections linked with ME/CFS (EBV, parvovirus, enterovirus, coxiella burnettii and chlamydia pneumoniae) and found among other things that the late phase marker for EBV ( nuclear antigen IGG) varied among patients compared to normal controls with patients having lesser levels. Dr Kerr and his team have also looked at the possibility of developing a SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) based test for the genomic subtypes.

Dr Chia showed us his excellent, solid research on enteroviruses which is confirming previous work done in the UK. He is concentrating his efforts in finding antiviral therapy against enteroviruses. He has found Oxymatrine to be beneficial for about 53% of his patients.

Professor De Meirleir preceded his conference presentation with a press conference in London on the day before (May 28, 2009) entitled 'ME: End of an Era of Medical Negation' unveiling his findings from recent research which has included examining many patients in Norway and displayed conclusions regarding the complex mechanisms of ME/CFS pathogenesis, a diagnostic test, and directions for therapeutic strategies.

A separate study by Professor De Meirleir et al. has been published In Vivo, Here they observed intestinal overgrowth of Gram positive D/L lactate-producing bacteria which are also known to produce H2S [hydrogen sulphide] in presence of certain heavy metals as a survival defence mechanism.

Also present at the conference was Marian Dix Lemle who is a science writer and has published a hypothesis on hydrogen sulphide and CFS which can be found here

The progress being made in biomedical research into ME, despite the lack of adequate funding by national organisations, such as the UK Medical Research Council or the US CDC, again demonstrated that there is absolutely no value in attempting to join biomedical researchers with those who advocate the psychosocial view of ME (as advocated by the MRC and cynically implied by NICE).

Invest in ME published its Journal of IiME [click here] at the conference and abstracts of the conference presenters' presentations are included therein.

Conference DVD

IIMEC4 Conference DVD

2 reviews
5.00 out of 5
Location Cost
UK £12


The DVD contains 4 discs and is in PAL format- containing the full presentations from the 2009 conference plus plenary sessions, and the pre-conference dinner speech by Hillary Johnson.

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Format: PAL
Length 400 minutes
Contents Full presentations from conference plus pre-conference dinner speech
  • Customer
    5.00 out of 5

    Very impressive. I am passing this DVD on to my GP surgery in order for them to be educated also. Very interesting to see the pre-conference presentation also. So informative. Thank you for all your efforts.

  • Customer
    5.00 out of 5

    Thank you for making this DVD so affordable. It is very good quality and easy to use.

The views expressed at the Invest in ME International ME Conference conferences by the presenters and delegates to the conference and any information material distributed are their own personal opinions that are not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Trustees of Invest in ME/Invest in ME Research.

Invest in ME/Invest in ME Research accept no responsibility for the views expressed or any subsequent action taken. The contents of any presentation should not be deemed to be an endorsement, recommendation or approval of such content by Invest in ME/Invest in ME Research. The materials presented at the 1st Invest in ME International ME Conference 2006 do not constitute medical advice. No medical recommendations are given or implied by Invest in ME/Invest in ME Research. Any person registering or attending the conference, or purchasing the DVD, who may take any action or consider medical treatment or referrals should take detailed advice from their own medical practitioner. Invest in ME/Invest in ME Research disclaims any implied guarantee about the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or relevance of any information contained at the conference.

By purchasing any of the conference DVDs you agree that Invest in ME/Invest in ME Research is not liable for any complications, injuries, loss or other medical problems arising from, or in connection with, the use of or reliance upon any information contained in the conference.


Images from IIMEC4, London, 2009


More details of previous Invest in ME conferences can be found on the current IIMEC* conference overview page - Click here.

Our Sponsors for IIMEC4

Invest in ME wish to thank the following organisations for helping to sponsor the 7th Invest in ME International ME Conference 2009.

The Irish ME Trust

The Irish ME Trust have sponsored a speaker at all of our conferences and we would like to thank them for their continued support. Their constant support allows us to make the conference happen.

The Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation

The Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation of Australia has agreed to sponsor the Invest in ME International ME/CFS Conference 2009 by providing funds for the production of the DVD. This will enable IiME to provide another CPD-accredited conference on DVD to those around the world who would wish to be present at the conference but cannot.

Invest in ME wish to thank the AHMF for this supremely generous offer - an offer which allows us to achieve another of the objectives of the conference. The AHMF is an inspirational and enduring memorial to Alison Hunter and all those whose lives have been devastated by ME/CFS. Read more click here.


Contact Us

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding the conference then please contact us by email and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your interest in the charity.

Contact Address

  • Address: Invest in ME Research PO Box 561 Eastleigh SO50 0GQ Hampshire UK
  • Phone: 02380 643736 / 07759 349743
  • Fax: 02380 000040
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Other Invest in ME Research Activity

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Invest in ME Research Projects

Research funded and facilitated by Invest in ME Research.

View the completed and ongoing projects made possible by the supporters of the charity.


IIMER are facilitating a strategy of biomedical research into ME. The charity is currently funding possibly important research projects for ME in the UK with international collaboration.
Currently the main hub of research is at Quadram Institute Bioscience and University of East Anglia ) in the Norwich Research Park and we also fund research at UCL. These involve a gut microbiota project in Norwich and B cell research in London.

Advisory Board

The IIMER Advisory Board is made up of eminent researchers who are helping the charity to form a credible and productive biomedical research strategy which will provide the best and quickest route for possible treatments and cures for this disease.

Centre of Excellence for ME

Translational biomedical research - an iterative feedback of information between the basic and clinical research domains in order to accelerate knowledge translation from lab to bedside and back to lab again - allows translation of findings in basic research more quickly and efficiently into medical practice to produce more meaningful health outcomes and facilitate the sharing of repositories and research-based facilities and laboratories. This is the model IiMER are attempting to promote in the proposal for an examination and research facility based in Norwich.

Let's Do It For ME

Let's do it for ME! is a patient-driven campaign to raise awareness and vital funds for a UK centre of excellence for translational biomedical ME research, clinical assessment, diagnosis and treatment for patients, training and information for healthcare staff, based around the Norwich Research Park in the UK and aiming to work collaboratively with international biomedical researchers.

Research Colloquiums

In addition to the International ME Conference the charity also organises an annual International Research Colloquium which attracts researchers from around the world in order to discuss experiences and open up collaborations in order to find answers for this disease.

European Collaboration

Invest in ME Research is one of the founder members of the European ME Alliance (EMEA) – a grouping of charities and patient organisations working together across Europe. Now fifteen European countries collaborating.