UNIVERSITY scientists are leading research to develop a simple blood test for the chronic fatigue syndrome ME.

Researchers from Newcastle and Oxford Universities have been awarded £50,000 funding from the ME Association to spend 12 months analysing nearly 300 blood samples, looking at metabolomics – chemical clues that are left behind after changes in cells.

Finding similarities in the cells of patients diagnosed with ME could help identify a test for the condition – and ultimately a cure.

Dr Charles Shepherd, medical adviser for the ME Association, said: “Put simply, this is the hunt for a smoking gun.

“This could be a major breakthrough.

He added: “Once and for all, we would be able to dispel the myth that ME should be treated as a psychological illness which is primarily in the mind.”