Michael VanElzakker, Phd, is a neuroscientist affiliated at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Tufts University. He has two primary research interests: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He has proposed a Vagus nerve infection hypothesis for ME/CFS.
- 1 Education and affiliations
- 2 Open Letter to The Lancet
- 3 Notable studies
- 4 Talks & Interviews
- 5 Quotes
- 6 Online presence
- 7 References
Education and affiliations
- Harvard Medical School - Post Doctorate - 2015 to Present
- Tufts University - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Psychology: Psychiatric neuroscience - 2010 to 2015
- Univeristy of Colorado at Boulder - Bachelors's and Master's, Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience
- Massachusetts General Hospital - 2010 to Present
- Neuroendocrinology Lab Manager - University of Colorado August 2004 – May 2010
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. VanElzakker, 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
Talks & Interviews
- 2016, Dr VanElzakker: two new ME/CFS studies at Harvard "Everyone here [at Harvard] recognizes that it’s a neuroimmune condition and approaches it that way." "We don’t have a test yet, therefore it’s psychogenic? That reveals a tragic lack of humility about what we know and what we don’t know." (12 December)
- 2015, Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Michael VanElZakker: Chronic fatigue vagus nerve link (8 December)
- 2015, Podcast interview on Chronic Fatigue from Vagus Nerve Infection (7 December)
- 2014, An Interview with Michael VanElzakker, Phd (February 14)
- Appears in Forgotten Plague explaining his hypothesis.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
- On the topic of CBT: "I understand that this is a really charged topic among CFS advocates, and there is a lot of misinformation out there. Just to be clear, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) does not get at the root cause of CFS. CBT offers coping strategies and is not a cure. But I can’t think of a single medical condition that isn’t exacerbated by stress. CFS is no different. Having a chronic illness is stressful and it makes one’s life complicated and there’s a grieving process. CBT is for those parts of the illness. It’s intended to help people solve problems and to challenge dysfunctional patterns. If you’re seeing a CBT practitioner who views CFS as a psychologically-based illness and is approaching your CBT that way, fire them. Find someone else."
Cognitive behavioral therapy
- "Subjective measures of sick people before & after they are repeatedly told, "You're not sick" is a social psych study, not a clinical trial."
- "What #PACEtrial called "CBT" is not normal CBT. Cancer patients see CBT therapists all the time and are not told, 'you're not really sick.'"
Vagus nerve infection hypothesis
- Quoting Louis Pasteur in reference to Vagus nerve infection hypothesis: "The germ is nothing; the terrain is everything."
Male and female differences in neuropathic pain
- "I've always seen glial cell action in neuropathic pain as a model for #VNIH. This paper elucidates sex differences:" http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v6/n9/pdf/tp2016168a.pdf
- "Sex differences in #MECFS could be explained by sex differences in glial cell & vagus nerve function." #VNIH.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome from vagus nerve infection: a psychoneuroimmunological hypothesis - PubMed
- VanElzakker-VNIH-CFS copy (VanElzakker-VNIH-CFS-in-press.PDF) (Elsevier - Medical Hypothesis - Full Paper) PDF Archive
- Michael VanElzakker Ph.d Talks – About the Vagus Nerve Infection Hypothesis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) - Simmaron Research