Press Release – ANZMES Awards Academics 25K Grants to Boost ME Research


For immediate release – 18/09/2023

Two New Zealand researchers have been chosen to receive the Associated New Zealand Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis Society (ANZMES) annual grant of $25,000 to undertake vital research into
increasing understanding of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME, also known as Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome), in Aotearoa.

ANZMES, the National Advisory on ME, launched the new grant and scholarship programme for
postgraduate students and academic researchers this year – aimed at supporting those
interested in researching ME and long COVID. With six funding opportunities available, ANZMES
encouraged applications from those seeking to undertake research that furthers understanding,
treatment, or prevention of ME and long COVID, including two $25,000 grants and four $5,000
scholarships to support research and study costs.


The 2023 Grant recipients are:
● Principal investigator: Dr. Nicholas Bowden, Research Fellow, Department of Women’s and
Children’s Health, University of Otago (pictured below. Photo credit: University of Otago).


Co investigators: Keith McLeod, Associate Principal, Kōtātā Insight.
Dr. Rosamund Vallings, retired GP, Howick Health and Medical
Centre.
Emeritus Professor Warren Tate, Department of Biochemistry,
University of Otago.
Professor Barry Taylor, Department of Women’s and Children’s
Health, University of Otago.
Francisca Anns, PhD Candidate, COMPASS Research Centre,
University of Auckland.


The study will investigate the health, labour market, and social service use of people with
ME, in NZ, through a population study.
Dr. Bowden says, “we are excited and grateful to receive this grant to undertake what we believe
is an important piece of research, providing foundational population-level evidence on health,
labour market, and social service outcomes for those with ME/CFS in Aotearoa/New Zealand for
the first time.”


● Principal investigator: Dr. Lynette Hodges, Senior Lecturer School of Sport, Exercise and
Nutrition, Massey University, Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (pictured below.
Photo credit: Massey University).


The study will investigate activity and energy management and
the hallmark symptom post-exertional malaise (PEM), in people
with ME through an observational study that assesses exertion
during normal daily activities of living, such as doing dishes or
laundry.

Dr. Hodges says, “I am so thrilled to learn that my research
application was chosen. I hope that this research will be able
to be of benefit to those with ME/CFS. As a Clinical Exercise
Physiologist, I am keen to help people live their best lives and hope that this study will develop a
better understanding of how activities of daily living affect the physiology of those living with
ME/CFS.”

Dr. Bowden and Dr. Hodges will both receive the $25,000 Grants through their respective
universities, to carry out their research projects.

ANZMES President, Fiona Charlton, says, these investments will help facilitate a crucial source of
New Zealand based research, furthering our understanding of the disabling condition.

“We are really pleased by the calibre of the work proposed by both recipients.
“With Dr. Bowden’s work, for the first time we will have a foundational study that offers insight into the lives and experiences of people with ME in Aotearoa.

“We understand the burden of disease from an international research perspective but New
Zealand based studies are lacking.

“Research into PEM and activity management will also be invaluable for both patients and health
professionals and will have implications for long COVID management and recovery.

“While we did not receive any scholarship applications, we encourage postgraduate students to
consider their Masters/PhD topics now, for next year’s funding round. In programs with relatively
low costs, scholarships can be used to help pay fees or study and living expenses,” says Charlton.

ME is a complex, debilitating and often misunderstood medical condition and although millions of
people suffer with the illness worldwide, including a significant population in New Zealand, there
is remarkably little research or funding available.

This ANZMES funding programme was made possible by the generous support of members.

The Grant was awarded by ANZMES on the recommendation of their Grants and Scholarships
Subcommittee.

Next year’s funding applications open May 31st.
Visit anzmes.org.nz for more information, grant regulations, and application forms.


What is ME/CFS?
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is often triggered by a viral
illness and involves overwhelming fatigue and other symptoms that range in severity as it affects
many body systems, such as the immune, neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous system.
The key characteristic of ME/CFS is post exertional malaise (PEM) which presents 12-48 hours
after exertion, and can result in days to weeks of exacerbated symptoms. For the very severe, this
exertion can be simply trying to speak, or eat.


Who are we?
We are the National Advisory on ME in Aotearoa/New Zealand. With four decades of knowledge
and experience, we are the trusted leaders in ME education, representation, and research. Our
expertise comes from a reputable medical team of advisors, including a world renowned expert
and MNZM recipient, a fellow of the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) and a
network of academic researchers, clinicians, and representatives from the ME community. The
executive committee comprises experts in their respective fields for governance, policy,
leadership, representation, and education.

Always a trail-blazer, it was the first ME charity of its kind in the world, established in 1980, as
ANZMES, to provide support, information dissemination, and representation, achieving past
outcomes through dedication, passion, time, and knowledge of lived experience. Today, the
organisation leads as a Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) Continuing
Medical Education (CME) Registered Provider, proud funder of vital research, and steward of the
community voice.
We continue to disseminate evidence-based information nationally, and represent the ME voice
globally as a founding member of the World ME Alliance through advocacy and leadership.
ANZMES latest education programme for health professionals – Know M.E. – is a video podcast
and news series featuring up-to-date, evidence based research and information on ME and Post
COVID Conditions.

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