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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation® Canada

MELLOW: Tracking Hormone Fluctuations in ME/CFS and Long COVID

Study Aim

The study aims to investigate how hormone fluctuations in individuals with ME/CFS and Long COVID, compared to healthy controls, impact metabolism and immune pathways by measuring hormones, metabolites, and inflammation markers in biofluid samples.


  • Natalie Thomas, PhD
  • Jonas Bergquist, MD, PhD
  • Michal Tal, PhD
  • Bethany Pollack
  • Caroline Gurvich, DPsych
  • Paul Gooley, PhD
  • Christopher Armstrong, PhD

Updates and Potential

  • We were successful in a Mason Foundation grant application for $360k over 3 years, which enables us to use Jonas Bergquist’s steroidomics platform to provide a deeper dive into hormone varieties.
  • We have completed the clinical protocol plan and IRB/Ethics approved.
  • The pilot work has been completed to assess the protocol via trial run-through.
  • Will use both the Australian ME/CFS Biobank and StudyME registry to recruit.
  • Set up an agreement to analyze hormone data backlog.

ME/CFS and Long COVID (LC) are conditions that are more common in females, especially during significant life stages like puberty and pregnancy. This connection suggests that sex hormones, which undergo major changes during these periods, might play a role in these illnesses. While these hormones don’t directly cause ME/CFS or LC, their interaction with the conditions indicates they could influence the underlying biological mechanisms and studying could highlight this unknown mechanism of disease.

Hormones affect various biological functions, particularly energy production and immune system function. We have launched a new study to explore this further. We will collect samples of blood and urine from individuals with LC, ME/CFS, and those without these conditions. By analyzing the levels of hormones, as well as markers of metabolism and inflammation in these samples, we aim to understand if and how hormonal fluctuations impact these bodily processes differently in those with LC or ME/CFS compared to healthy individuals. This could lead to better insights into how these conditions develop and how they could be treated.


The image shows a female scientist working inside a lab. She is wearing a white lab coat, blue gloves, and a surgical mask. The scientist is using a pipette to transfer a liquid into a container.

  1. Track the impact of hormones on energy metabolism and immune makers in ME/CFS patients, Long COVID patients and healthy controls.
  2. Combine hormone, metabolism, and immune markers to understand how overall biology interacts with heart rate, activity, and symptoms of ME/CFS.
  3. Cluster ME/CFS patients into groups based on similar biology-symptom dynamics.
  4. After conducting a personalized biological analysis of each individual, track their biological marker response to a PEM event – from onset to recovery.