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 (PTSD), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). He has proposed a vagus nerve infection hypothesis (VNIH) for ME/CFS.[1]

Dr. VanElzakker current research involves performing brain scans on ME/CFS patients and controls and analyzing the differences.

Education and affiliations[edit | edit source]

Education

  • Univeristy of Colorado at Boulder - Bachelors's and Master's, Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Tufts University - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Psychology: Psychiatric neuroscience - 2010 to 2015
  • Harvard Medical School - Post Doctorate - 2015 to Present

Affiliations

  • Neuroendocrinology Lab Manager - University of Colorado August 2004 – May 2010
  • Massachusetts General Hospital - 2010 to Present

Open letter to The Lancet[edit | edit source]

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 | edit source]

  • 2021, Corrigendum: Neuroinflammation and Cytokines in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS): A Critical Review of Research Methods[3] - (Full text)
  • 2021, Long COVID or Post-acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC): An Overview of Biological Factors That May Contribute to Persistent Symptoms[4] - (Full text)
  • 2019, Neuroinflammation and cytokines in myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS): A critical review of research methods[5] - (Full text)
  • 2013, Chronic fatigue syndrome from vagus nerve infection: A psychoneuroimmunological hypothesis[1] - (Full text)

Talks and interviews[edit | edit source]

"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."[9]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Cognitive behavioral therapy[edit | edit source]

  • On the topic of cognitive behavioral therapy (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."[6]
  • "Subjective measures of sick people before & after they are repeatedly told, "You're not sick" is a social psych study, not a clinical trial."[13]
  • "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.'"[14]

Vagus nerve infection hypothesis[edit | edit source]

  • Quoting Louis Pasteur in reference to Vagus nerve infection hypothesis: "The germ is nothing; the terrain is everything."[15]

Sex differences in neuropathic pain[edit | edit source]

  • "I've always seen glial cell action in neuropathic pain as a model for #VNIH. This paper elucidates sex differences:"[16]
Glial contributions to visceral pain: implications for disease etiology and the female predominance of persistent pain[17]
  • "Sex differences in #MECFS could be explained by sex differences in glial cell & vagus nerve function." #VNIH.[18][17]

Online presence[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.01.1 VanElzakker, Michael B. (2013). "Chronic fatigue syndrome from vagus nerve infection: a psychoneuroimmunological hypothesis". Medical Hypotheses. 81 (3): 414–423. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2013.05.034. ISSN 1532-2777. PMID 23790471.
  2. Tuller, David (February 10, 2016). "An open letter to The Lancet, again". Virology blog. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  3. VanElzakker, Michael B.; Brumfield, Sydney A.; Lara Mejia, Paula S. (2020). "Corrigendum: Neuroinflammation and Cytokines in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS): A Critical Review of Research Methods". Frontiers in Neurology. 11: 863. doi:10.3389/fneur.2020.00863/full. ISSN 1664-2295. PMID 33041960.
  4. Proal, Amy D.; VanElzakker, Michael B. (2021). "Long COVID or Post-acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC): An Overview of Biological Factors That May Contribute to Persistent Symptoms". Frontiers in Microbiology. 12: 698169. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2021.698169. ISSN 1664-302X. PMID 3304196.
  5. VanElzakker, Michael B.; Brumfield, Sydney A.; Mejia, Paula S. Lara (January 10, 2019). "Neuroinflammation and cytokines in myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS): A critical review of research methods". Frontiers in Neurology. 9: 1033. doi:10.3389/fneur.2018.01033.
  6. 6.06.1 Johnson, Cort (February 14, 2014). "Michael VanElzakker Ph.d Talks – About the Vagus Nerve Infection Hypothesis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) - Simmaron Research". Simmaron Research. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  7. Ykelenstam, Yasmina (December 8, 2015). "Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Michael Van ElZakker: chronic fatigue vagus nerve link". Healing Histamine. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  8. Ykelenstam, Yasmina (December 7, 2015). "Yasmina Ykelenstam's Healing Histamine Podcast: Chronic Fatigue from Vagus Nerve Infection: A Psychoneuroimmunological Hypothesis". Yasmina Ykelenstam's Healing Histamine Podcast. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  9. Selzer, Jaime (December 12, 2016). "Dr VanElzakker: two new ME/CFS studies at Harvard - #MEAction". #MEAction. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  10. Proal, Amy (December 7, 2017). "Interview with neuroscientist Michael VanElzakker: Vagus Nerve, ME/CFS, latent infection and more". Microbe Minded. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  11. King, Llewellyn (March 30, 2018). "ME/CFS Research with Michael VanElzakker, Vagus Nerve, triggers | ME/CFS Alert Episode 97". YouTube.
  12. "IIMEC14 14th Invest in ME Reseaerch International ME Conference 2019". Invest in ME Research. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  13. Michael VanElzakker [@MBvanelzakker] (August 17, 2016). "Subjective measures of sick people before & after they are repeatedly told, "You're not sick" is a social psych study, not a clinical trial" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. Michael VanElzakker [@MBVanElzakker] (August 16, 2016). "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.'" (Tweet). Retrieved October 14, 2018 – via Twitter.
  15. Michael VanElzakker [@MBVanElzakker] (April 8, 2014). "The germ is nothing; the terrain is everything. - Louis Pasteur" (Tweet). Retrieved October 14, 2018 – via Twitter.
  16. Michael VanElzakker [@MBVanElzakker] (September 13, 2016). "I've always seen glial cell action in neuropathic pain as a model for #VNIH. This paper elucidates sex differences" (Tweet). Retrieved October 14, 2018 – via Twitter.
  17. 17.017.1 Dodds, KN; Beckett, EAH; Evans, SF; Grace, PM; Watkins, LR; Hutchinson, MR (2016). "Glial contributions to visceral pain: implications for disease etiology and the female predominance of persistent pain" (PDF). nature.com.
  18. Michael VanElzakker [@MBVanElzakker] (September 15, 2016). "Sex differences in #MECFS could be explained by sex differences in glial cell & vagus nerve function" (Tweet). Retrieved October 14, 2018 – via Twitter.

cytokine any class of immunoregulatory proteins secreted by cells, especially immune cells. Cytokines are small proteins important in cell signaling that modulate the immune system. (Learn more: me-pedia.org)

myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

cytokine any class of immunoregulatory proteins secreted by cells, especially immune cells. Cytokines are small proteins important in cell signaling that modulate the immune system. (Learn more: me-pedia.org)

cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - A type of psychotherapy geared toward modifying alleged unhealthy thinking, behaviors or illness beliefs. One of the treatment arms used in the controversial PACE trial.

cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - A type of psychotherapy geared toward modifying alleged unhealthy thinking, behaviors or illness beliefs. One of the treatment arms used in the controversial PACE trial.

cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - A type of psychotherapy geared toward modifying alleged unhealthy thinking, behaviors or illness beliefs. One of the treatment arms used in the controversial PACE trial.

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.