Michael VanElzakker

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Source: tufts.edu

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][2]

Education and affiliations[edit]


  • 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[edit]

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.

Notable studies[edit]

Talks & Interviews[edit]



Cognitive behavioral therapy[edit]

  • 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."[3]


Cognitive behavioral therapy[edit]

Vagus nerve infection hypothesis[edit]

Male and female differences in neuropathic pain[edit]

Online presence[edit]


  1. Chronic fatigue syndrome from vagus nerve infection: a psychoneuroimmunological hypothesis - PubMed
  2. VanElzakker-VNIH-CFS copy (VanElzakker-VNIH-CFS-in-press.PDF) (Elsevier - Medical Hypothesis - Full Paper) PDF Archive
  3. Michael VanElzakker Ph.d Talks – About the Vagus Nerve Infection Hypothesis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) - Simmaron Research

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history