An Irish doctor has launched a specialized research clinic in New York for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) at the Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.
"I believe that an independent organization such as ours, which is not funded by the government or answerable to the government, can be the leader in new research," said Dr. Enlander.
The Mt. Sinai research team includes a geneticist, an immunologist and a virologist. The center was established as a result of a $1 million private donation from one of Dr Enlander’s patients.
“I am very proud of it, we have got terrific people on board,” Dr Enlander told the Irish Voice.
“This is a very important center, it is the only ME/CFS center attached to a major medical school,” he added.
Dr Enlander has been a long-time advocate of the debilitating illness, which he says many doctors misdiagnose.
“This is not a psychological disease,” he notes, adding, “It’s a physical disease”.
Born in Belfast, Enlander entered medical school at the age of 17.
“I wanted to be a doctor since I was five years old,” he recalls.
He originally came to the U.S. in the sixties when he was offered a fellowship to study at Stanford University Medical School.
“They gave me a faculty position in New York after Stanford,” he said.
A faculty member of Mount Sinai Medical School, Dr Enlander is an attending physician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
According to the Enlander’s diagnosis, ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome), is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity.
Symptoms include fatigue, loss of memory or concentration, unexplained muscle pain, and extreme exhaustion. It is most prevalent among women in their 40s and 50s.
The doctor’s interest in the condition began while on vacation in Ireland almost two decades ago when an old school friend was suffering from CFS.
“He told me he felt terrible and it and it spurred my interest,” he recalls.
Two decades later, the Irish doctor has established himself as leading profession in the illness, having conducted extensive research.
Up to 75 percent of Dr Enlander’s patients are female between the ages of 18-52.
“This is not just ordinary tiredness, this is a debilitative disease,” he noted.
With patients travelling from England, Ireland, Peru, France, Bulgaria, and Romania, there is a great demand for his specialty.
“Patients have travelled from all over the world to see us,” he noted.
The definite cause of CFS has not yet been identified, but the New York based doctor’s research has led him to believe that the disorder is connected to the immune system.
“We believe that CGS is an immune system dysfunction,” said Enlander,
“People used to think patients were imagining that they were sick as all their blood tests were normal, doctors didn’t pay as much attention,” he notes.
“The longer they have had it, the longer it takes to recover,” he said.
The Belfast born doctor offers various treatment plans for the illness. The Manhattan research facility is working with Hemispherx Biopharma, a biopharmaceutical company, based in Philadelphia, to examine the potential of the drug Ampligen, as a treatment for CFS.
Worldwide, 17 million people suffer from the syndrome, including at least one million Americans, according to the New York Times.
For more information log onto www.enlander.com.
USS Michael Murphy, named after Irish American Navy SEAL hero, heading toward Korea