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Newton: loss of muscle function after exercise

Published on Dec 6, 2013

Professor Julia Newton, Dean for Clinical Medicine and Clinical Professor of Ageing and Medicine at Newcastle University, talks about understanding muscle dysfunction in ME/CFS as part of Action for ME 2013 AGM and research conference.

Action for M.E.’s annual general meeting (AGM) was held in London on November 8th, 2013. More than 70 patients, carers, health professionals, researchers, staff and trustees attended the conference where they heard presentations on the state of ME/CFS research.

In the clip, Professor Newton explains how her group investigated muscle function in patients with ME/CFS. Newton’s group used MRIs to assess acid accumulation in the muscle tissue of patients during intial and repeat exercise. They found a “huge” accumulation of acid in skeletal muscle tissue, both during and between bouts of exercise, indicating a loss of efficiency in muscle function.

The experiments also revealed other problems with bioenergetic function, such as a significant reduction in anaerobic threshold in patients with ME/CFS compared to normal controls. (It has long been proposed that ME/CFS patients shift to anaerobic metabolism faster than healthy people. Anaerobic metabolism, in not requiring oxygen, is less efficient than aerobic metabolism, and leads to the accumulation of lactic acid.)


Written by Russell Logan


Russell Logan worked as a magazine publisher and editor until forced into early retirement through ill health with ME. He has battled with moderate to severe ME for 25 years. He now lives in Noosaville, Australia.

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