Dr. Marcie Zinn passed away on December 28th, 2019 after a 10-year battle with herpes encephalitis (which further became ME/CFS). Herpes encephalitis can be fatal within a few days if not caught immediately due to the intense inflammatory response associated with it, and about 7 out of 10 people die of herpes encephalitis. Unfortunately, the symptoms are identical to the flu (flu-like symptoms) so it is often overlooked unless the physician is an infectious diseases expert. She also had an autonomic nervous system disorder (dysautonomia), which comes with its own set of symptoms including orthostatic intolerance.
In 2010, Marcie worked with Dr. Jose Montoya at the Stanford University Medical Center, having joined the newly-formed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Initiative. Her research project involved using quantitative EEG to investigate cognitive impairment in patients with ME/CFS. She designed a comprehensive study with 50 patients and 50 control individuals and carried it out, and the results were promising. In 2012, her husband, Mark, joined the research team at Stanford to further analyze the data using novel eLORETA methods (3-dimensional analysis of the EEG signals). The results came to fruition and was presented at the 2014 Stanford Symposium for ME/CFS as well as the IACFS/ME Conference in San Francisco.
With the overwhelming positive response by patients and physicians, Marcie and Mark subsequently co-founded the NCRI to pursue their research using the latest advancements in electrical brain imaging. Their approach is to link brain activity to their symptoms, so patients would gain better understanding of their condition. With added understanding, patients can explore new opportunities for receiving the appropriate medical treatment they urgently need. Mark obtained his doctorate in psychology from DePaul University in 2019. While at DePaul, Mark worked with Dr. Leonard Jason on multiple research projects studying patients with ME/CFS and published research relating brain networks to cognitive dysfunction. Mark is currently director of the NCRI where he continues to build upon Marcie’s groundbreaking work. The results serve to explain the sequence of events between health and disease and deliver new hope for new treatment options and better clinical applications.