Dr. Marcie Zinn was diagnosed in 2009 with herpes encephalitis (which further became ME/CFS). Herpes encephalitis is uniformly fatal within a few days if not caught immediately due to the intense inflammatory response associated with it, so 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. After that diagnosis, she found out that she has an autonomic nervous system disorder called dysautonomia, which comes with its own set of symptoms including orthostatic intolerance. Dr. Zinn was extremely fortunate to receive an accurate diagnosis and start treatment (Acyclovir and Fluconazole) immediately. She was also given a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD for the inflammation).
Thereafter, Dr. Marcie Zinn was recruited by the Stanford University Medical Center, Dept. of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, to join the newly-formed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Initiative. Her project involved the study of cognitive impairment in patients with ME/CFS as measured by quantitative EEG (qEEG). She designed a comprehensive study with 50 patients and 50 control individuals and carried it out, and the results were tremendous. In 2012, her husband, Dr. Mark Zinn joined the research team at Stanford due to his knowledge of qEEG cortical source analysis known as exact LORETA. That research initiative came to fruition and was presented at the 2014 Stanford Symposium for ME/CFS as well as the IACFS/ME Conference in San Francisco.
Since that time, the ability to assess neurological disease has increased exponentially due to rapid developments in electrical brain imaging. These advancements allow researchers to discover new relationships that are unusual and novel, which explain the neurocognitive issues, with ME/CFS in particular. Current studies will examine neurocognitive impairments using the newest standardized weighted LORETA methods for accelerating the understanding of ME/CFS as well as other diseases such as Gulf War Illness, Fibromyalgia, Parkinsons’ Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other infections of the central nervous system (encephalitis). Within these various disease, the NCRI seeks to find a common pathology and sequence of events from central nervous system insults which give rise to various forms of neurocognitive impairment. Findings will ultimately characterize that sequence of events which may lead to new treatment options and clinical applications.