Alan R. Light, Phd., is a Research Professor of Anesthesiology, Neurobiology and Anatomy at the Interdepartmental Program in Neuroscience at the University of Utah. He studies the neurobiology of pain and fatigue enhancement caused by injury and in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Professor Light (and his wife Dr. Kathleen Light) are known for their work on post-exertional gene expression after exercise.
- B.A. 1972, Hamilton College
- Ph.D. 1977, SUNY at Upstate Medical Center
- Postdoctoral Fellow 1977-1979, UNC-Chapel Hill
Talks & interviews
- Alan Light - Segment 3: Update on Dr. Light's Recent CFS and FM Research (Feb 22, 2016)
- Alan Light - Segment 2: Detailed Explanation of Dr. Light's CFS and FM Research (Feb 22, 2016)
- Alan Light - Segment 1: Why Research Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia? (Feb 22, 2016)
- Partnerships to Accelerate Biomarker and Mechanisms Discovery in ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia - Alan Light, PhD (5 Dec 2015)
- Solve ME/CFS Initiative Webinar "New Developments in ME/CFS Research" - Alan Light, PhD (Oct 15, 2015)]
Short web seminars Science to patients / Wetenschap voor patienten
English spoken, dutch subtitles
- 2015, 64. ME/cfs, immune system, cell functioning / ME/cvs, immuunsysteem en cel functioneren - Prof. Alan Light
- 2017, Symptom variability following acute exercise in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a perspective on measuring post-exertion malaise
Abstract - Background: Consensus for an operational definition of post-exertion malaise (PEM) and which symptoms best characterize PEM has not been established and may be due to variability within and between studies. Purpose: Determine the magnitude of the effect of maximal and submaximal physical exertion on multiple myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) symptoms that are associated with PEM and explore variability among two studies in which mood, fatigue, and pain symptoms were measured before and after exercise. Methods: Symptoms were measured before, and 48 and 72 hours after exercise in study 1 (ME/CFS = 13; Controls = 11) and before and 24 hours after exercise in study 2 (ME/CFS = 15, Controls = 15). Between-study variability was examined by comparing Hedges d effect sizes (95% CI) from studies 1 and 2. Within-patient group variability was examined via inspection of dot density plots. Results: In study 1, large increases in general fatigue (Δ = 1.05), reduced motivation (Δ = 0.93), feelings of fatigue (Δ = 0.90), feelings of confusion (Δ = 0.93), and total mood disturbance (Δ = 0.90) were found at 72 hours. In study 2, a large increase in affective/sensory pain (Δ = 0.79) was found at 24 hours. Dot density plots in both studies revealed substantial variability among people with ME/CFS relative to healthy control participants.
- 2017, Neural Consequences of Post-Exertion Malaise in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Abstract: Post exertion malaise is one of the most debilitating aspects of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, yet the neurobiological consequences are largely unexplored. The objective of the study was to determine the neural consequences of acute exercise using functional brain imaging. Fifteen female Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients and 15 healthy female controls completed 30 minutes of submaximal exercise (70% of peak heart rate) on a cycle ergometer. Symptom assessments (e.g. fatigue, pain, mood) and brain imaging data were collected one week prior to and 24 hours following exercise. Functional brain images were obtained during performance of: 1) a fatiguing cognitive task – the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task, 2) a non-fatiguing cognitive task – simple number recognition, and 3) a non-fatiguing motor task – finger tapping. Symptom and exercise data were analyzed using independent samples t-tests. Cognitive performance data were analyzed using mixed-model analysis of variance with repeated measures. Brain responses to fatiguing and non-fatiguing tasks were analyzed using linear mixed effects with cluster-wise (101-voxels) alpha of 0.05. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients reported large symptom changes compared to controls (effect size ≥0.8, p<0.05). Patients and controls had similar physiological responses to exercise (p>0.05). However, patients exercised at significantly lower Watts and reported greater exertion and leg muscle pain (p<0.05). For cognitive performance, a significant Group by Time interaction (p<0.05), demonstrated pre- to post-exercise improvements for controls and worsening for patients. Brain responses to finger tapping did not differ between groups at either time point. During number recognition, controls exhibited greater brain activity (p<0.05) in the posterior cingulate cortex, but only for the pre-exercise scan. For the Paced Serial Auditory Addition Task, there was a significant Group by Time interaction (p<0.05) with patients exhibiting increased brain activity from pre- to post-exercise compared to controls bilaterally for inferior and superior parietal and cingulate cortices. Changes in brain activity were significantly related to symptoms for patients (p<0.05). Acute exercise exacerbated symptoms, impaired cognitive performance and affected brain function in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. These converging results, linking symptom exacerbation with brain function, provide objective evidence of the detrimental neurophysiological effects of post-exertion malaise.
- 2016, Iacob, E., Light, A.R., Donaldson, G.W., Okifuji, A., Hughen, R.W., White, A.T., and Light, K.C. (2016) Gene expression factor analysis to differentiate pathways linked to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression in a diverse patient sample. Arthritis Care and Research (Hoboken), Jan;68(1):132-40. doi: 10.1002/acr.22639. PMID: 26097208
- 2013, Light, K.C., Agarwal, N., Iacob, E., White, A.T., Kinney, A.Y., Vanhaitsma, T.A., Aizad, H., Hughen, R.W., Bateman, L., and Light, A.R. (2013) Differing leukocyte gene expression profiles associated with fatigue in patients with prostate cancer versus chronic fatigue syndrome. Psychoneuroendocrinology, Sep 6. doi:pii: S0306-4530(13)00297-7. 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.08.008 [Epub ahead of print
- 2013, Post-Exertion Malaise in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Symptoms and Gene Expression Abstract
- 2012, Light AR, Bateman L, Jo D, Hughen RW, Vanhaitsma TA, White AT, Light KC.(2012) Gene expression alterations at baseline and following moderate exercise in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Journal of Internal Medicine. 2012 Jan;271(1):64-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02405.x. Epub 2011 Jul 13.
- 2012, Differences in metabolite-detecting, adrenergic, and immune gene expression after moderate exercise in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, patients with multiple sclerosis, and healthy controls.
- 2012, Light KC, White AT, Tadler S, Iacob E, Light AR. Genetics and Gene Expression Involving Stress and Distress Pathways in Fibromyalgia with and without Comorbid Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Pain Research and Treatment. 2012:427869. doi: 10.1155/2012/427869
- 2011, Shin CH, Bateman L, Schlaberg R, Bunker AM, Leonard CJ, Hughen RW, Light AR, Light KC, Singh IR. (2011) Absence of XMRV retrovirus and other murine leukemia virus-related viruses in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Virology. 2011 Jul;85(14):7195-202. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00693-11.
- 2011, Albright F, Light K, Light A, Bateman L, Cannon-Albright LA. Evidence for a heritable predisposition to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- 2011, Carruthers BM, van de Sande MI, De Meirleir KL, Klimas NG, Broderick G, Mitchell T, Staines D, Powles AC, Speight N, Vallings R, Bateman L, Baumgarten-Austrheim B, Bell DS, Carlo-Stella N, Chia J, Darragh A, Jo D, Lewis D, Light AR, Marshall-Gradisbik S, Mena I, Mikovits JA, Miwa K, Murovska M, Pall ML, Stevens S. Myalgic encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria. Journal of Internal Medicine, 2011 Oct;270(4):327-38. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02428.x.
- 2010, Light, A.R. Vierck, C.J., and Light, K.C. (2010) Chapter 11: Myalgia and Fatigue—Translation from Mouse Sensory Neurons to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndromes In: Translational Pain Research – From Mouse to Man, Lawrence Kruger and Alan Light, editors; Taylor and Francis.
- 2010, White, A.T., Light, A.R., Hughen, R.W., Bateman, L., Martins, T.B., Hill, H.R., and Light, K.C. (2010) Severity of symptom flare after moderate exercise is linked to cytokine activity in chronic fatigue syndrome. Psychophysiology, 47(4):615-24. doi: 10.1111./j.1469-8986.2010.00978.x
- 2010, A novel approach to studying the sensory pathways involved in the perception of fatigue
Abstract - Debilitating fatigue is common in cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, the mechanisms of sensory muscle fatigue signaling are unknown. In mice, 2 populations of muscle afferents signal noxious and nonnoxious metabolite levels, respectively. These afferents use a combination of ASIC, P2X, and TRPV1 receptors to detect the unique metabolites (protons, adenosine triphosphate [ATP], and lactate) produced by exercise. Our objective was to develop a method to directly infuse protons, ATP, and lactate into thenar muscles in healthy subjects to verify that human sensory neurons use similar molecular receptors to detect the metabolites produced by muscle contraction.
- 2009, Light, A.R., White, A.T., Hughen, R.W., and Light, K.C. (2009) Moderate Exercise Increases Expression for Sensory, Adrenergic, and Immune Genes in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients But Not in Normal Subjects. The Journal of Pain, 10:1099-1112.
Open Letter to The Lancet
Two open letters to the editor of The Lancet urged the editor to commission a fully independent review of the PACE trial, which the journal had published in 2011. In 2016, Dr. Light, along with 41 colleagues in the ME/CFS field, signed the second letter.
- 10 February 2016, An open letter to The Lancet, again - Virology blog
- Carruthers, BM; van de Sande, MI; De Meirleir, KL; Klimas, NG; Broderick, G; Mitchell, T; Staines, D; Powles, A C P; Speight, N; Vallings, R; Bateman, L; Baumgarten-Austrheim, B; Bell, DS; Carlo-Stella, N; Chia, J; Darragh, A; Jo, D; Lewis, D; Light, A; Marshall-Gradisnik, S; Mena, I; Mikovits, JA; Miwa, K; Murovska, M; Pall, ML; Stevens, S (2011), "Myalgic encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria.", Journal of Internal Medicine, 270 (4): 327-38, PMID 21777306, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02428.x
- Lindheimer, Jacob B.; Meyer, Jacob D.; Stegner, Aaron J.; Dougherty, Ryan J.; Van Riper, Stephanie M.; Shields, Morgan; Reisner, Amanda; Shukla, Sanjay K.; Light, Alan R.; Yale, Steven; Cook, Dane B. (2017), "Symptom variability following acute exercise in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a perspective on measuring post-exertion malaise", Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior, 5 (2): 69-88, doi:10.1080/21641846.2017.1321166
- Cook, Dane B.; Light, Alan R.; Light, Kathleen C.; Broderick, Gordon; Shields, Morgan R.; Dougherty, Ryan J.; Meyer, Jacob D.; VanRiper, Stephanie; Stegner, Aaron J.; Ellingson, Laura D.; Vernon, Suzanne D. (2017), "Neural Consequences of Post-Exertion Malaise in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2017.02.009
- Meyer, Jacob D; Light, Alan R; Shukla, Sanjay K; Clevidence, Derek; Yale, Steven; Stegner, Aaron J; Cook, Dane C (2013), "Post-Exertion Malaise in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Symptoms and Gene Expression", Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health, & Behavior, 1 (4): 190-209, doi:10.1080/21641846.2013.838444
- White, AT; Light, AR; Hughen, RW; Vanhaitsma, TA; Light, KC (2012), "Differences in metabolite-detecting, adrenergic, and immune gene expression after moderate exercise in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, patients with multiple sclerosis, and healthy controls", Psychosomatic Medicine, 74 (1): 46-54, doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e31824152ed
- Albright, Frederick; Light, Kathleen; Light, Alan; Bateman, Lucinda; Cannon-Albright, Lisa A (2011), "Evidence for a heritable predisposition to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", BMC Neurology, 11 (62), doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-62
- Kelly Pollak, MD, Daehyun Jo, MD, Timothy Vanhaitsma, Ron Hughen, Alan Light, PhD. (2010). A novel approach to studying the sensory pathways involved in the perception of fatigue. Journal of Critical Care. Volume 25, Issue 4, Page e18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrc.2010.08.023