Neuroscientific Approach to ME/CFS

Help fund my Masters and PhD

Neuroscientific Approach to ME/CFS
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This project will only receive pledges if at least £8,250 is pledged by Mon 29 Jan 2018

A short summary of your project

I'm raising a minimum of £10k to pay for the course fees and expenses associated with a Masters in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience so that I can model my novel neuroscientific approach to systemic illnesses including ME/CFS. A postgraduate loan will pay for the maintenance.

The remaining £25k full target is to pay for the course fees and one year maintenance for a PhD in systemic illnesses. A postgraduate loan will pay for the maintenance.

Who are you?

I am a Chartered Physicist with a degree in Physics with Optoelectronics and 2/3 of a degree in Psychology. I am a nuclear safety engineer with over 14 years experience in nuclear safety engineering. I have had three systemic illnesses: IBS, MCS and ME/CFS throughout my adult life. I feel that given my first-hand lived-in experience of these systemic illness,and my engineering perspective and multi-disciplinary knowledge that I have the potential to provide unique insights into neuroscience and particularly system illnesses like ME/CFS.

Your story

I have developed a novel neuroscientific explanation for systemic illnesses like ME/CFS. My explanation is conceptually simple and needs no real new science. I hypothesis that the reason why these illnesses cannot be understood is because of how medicine approaches the problem. Medicine's approach is problematic for three reasons:

1. Medicine looks for a pathology, i.e. a pathogen, injury or biochemical malfunction. However, not all illnesses result from a pathology, e.g. high blood pressure is a physiological response to a poor lifestyle.

2. Medicine is divided into the psychological and physical. Some illnesses cannot be explained if they are reduced to either paradigm alone, e.g. high blood pressure eventually causes systemic illnesses but arises out of the interplay between the psychological (lifestyle) and the physical (circulatory response to that lifestyle).

3. Medicine is prejudice against certain symptoms, e.g. high blood pressure has no pathology but is treated seriously, whilst the symptoms of ME/CFS have no pathology and are not.

If high blood pressure is a physiological response of the circulatory system to a hostile environment (lifestyle) and we take the same approach for ME/CFS, then ME/CFS is a physiological response of the central nervous system to a hostile environment, i.e. chronic or acute trauma or recreational drug use.

On that basis of the above my hypothesis is that the illness arises out of the interface between the psychological and physical, i.e. from the physiological maladaptations due to a hostile environment.  of synapses or connections between neurons.

Using my physics and engineering judgement, it seems apparent that extreme configurations of synapses to a hostile environment could result in disruptions in signal transmission and these disruptions could be the cause of the symptoms of ME/CFS and other systemic illnesses.

This project is important to me because:

1. This new perspective could provide insights into systemic and other illnesses, perhaps starting a new branch of medicine.

2. It could provide an explanation to millions of sufferers who face discrimination and prejudice from the medical profession who fail to understand and treat these illnesses.

3. This explanation opens the door for potential treatments.

4. This perspective could be used to explain and unify most mental illnesses and these systemic illnesses.

Millions of pounds is spent on ME/CFS and other systemic illnesses. ME/CFS is a long term disabling condition which affects women more than men. This comparatively small amount of money could improve the lives of millions of people and advance medicine significantly.

Where will the money go?

The course fees for a Masters in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at University of Sheffield are £8k and so the minimum will go towards these fees. If I hit my full target the remaining will be spent on books, equipment and conferences for me to more easily learn about systemic illnesses and promote my ideas. Any funds beyond my target will go towards my PhD in systemic illnesses that I intend to start once the Master's is complete.

I will keep sponsor updated of progress at least once a term. I will likely report back more often whilst I am carrying out the project and if there are any new exciting developments.


I will send everyone an electronic copy of my Master's project and any paper if it gets published. I will send everyone a copy of my PhD and any papers that get published.

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