Join us on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of November for the third annual ACIIDS conference at the beautiful Sofitel on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

The conference will feature many of Australia’s leaders in complex chronic illness who will discuss the diagnosis, treatment and management of these conditions.

Saturday will focus on Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), ME/CFS, Long COVID, and Mould Illness.

Sunday will be a day focused on the microbiome and the gut, including the microbiome across childhood, Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders/IBS, The gut-brain axis, and microbiome testing.

THE VENUE

The Sofitel, located at 81 Surf Parade, Broadbeach is a true Gold Coast jewel. The conference lectures and case studies will take place in the Sorrento room, while food and drink will be served at the Broadbeach room which looks out on the gorgeous pool. Rooms, which we have secured at a special conference rate, look out onto the perfect beach.

THE PROGRAM

SATURDAY 2nd November 2024

Prof Pete Smith, MBBS, BMedSci, PhD, FRACP

Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is a condition characterised by inappropriate and excessive activation of mast cells, leading to a wide range of symptoms affecting multiple organ systems. It can be classified into primary, secondary, and idiopathic types. Primary MCAS involves clonal proliferation of mast cells, often linked to mutations like KIT D816V. Secondary MCAS is associated with other conditions that indirectly trigger mast cell activation, while idiopathic MCAS has no identifiable cause.

Symptoms of MCAS are diverse, affecting the skin (flushing, urticaria), gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea, abdominal pain), cardiovascular system (hypotension, tachycardia), respiratory system (wheezing, nasal congestion), and nervous system (headaches, cognitive dysfunction). These symptoms are episodic and can be severe, sometimes mimicking anaphylaxis.

Recent advancements have improved the understanding and classification of MCAS, but challenges remain in diagnosis due to its heterogeneous presentation and overlap with other conditions.

In this keynote lecture, Professor Smith will present the cutting edge diagnosis and management of MCAS in an Australian context.

There are many similarities between myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and Long COVID, which the World Health Organisation has called “Post COVID Condition” or “PCC.” There are 9 key features of PCC but one lacking feature of the WHO’s PCC definition is that it can occur post-vaccination. Only about 75% of patients with ME/CFS have an obvious prior infection, whereas Long COVID occurs after antigenic exposure (infection or vaccination). With Long COVID, recurrent infection has been associated with deterioration.

A striking feature of both conditions is dysautonomia/POTS which also causes symptoms that “tick off” checklists of anxiety and depression. Whilst both anxiety and depression can occur with conditions, it is important to not to diagnose these ahead of their primary illness, lest patients be “gaslight”.

Prof Smith is part of a research team at Griffith University that have identified similar immunological dysfunction in both ME/CFS and Long COVID. Using T7 MRI, the team at the NCNED  have also identified radiological similarities and differences between these conditions.

The management of both conditions is still evolving, but low-dose naltrexone appears to be beneficial and the team is exploring this medication in vitro and in vivo.

Prof Smith’s keynote lecture will discuss practical aspects of use of this medication — which is low cost, with a low side effect profile, and a high rate of efficacy in both conditions, but is used “off-label”.

Professor Pete Smith is one of Australia’s leading allergists, immunologists and medical researchers. He graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Medical Science and a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1987, before earning a Fellowship from the Royal Australia College of Physicians in 1995, and specialising in paediatrics in Adelaide. He completed his PhD in molecular immunology with Flinders University in 2002 and has worked as an allergy specialist at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, and as a senior lecturer at the Institute of Child Health, University College London.

In 2002, Professor Smith set up Queensland Allergy Services in Southport, on the Gold Coast where he provides patients the highest level of quality medical care in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies and MCAS.

He has three Professorial appointments; one in clinical medicine focusing on mucosal immunology at Griffith University, an Adjunct Professorial position in the Menzies Institute which incorporates the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED) and a Professorship in Allergy at OPRI in Singapore.

Within NCNED he is a clinical lead in mechanisms of hypersensitivity and collaborates with several leading centres in the world, including the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Academy of Sciences in the United States. I am co-inventor of several patents related to diagnosis and personalised gene modification of dysfunctional ion channels in hypersensitive conditions.

Professor Smith is an active member of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology & Allergy, and a regular expert commentator in the media. He is a member of the World Allergy Organization, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and the European Academy of Clinical Immunology & Allergy.

Websites

Select Publications

  • Sasso, E. M., Muraki, K., Eaton-Fitch, N., Smith, P., Jeremijenko, A., Griffin, P., & Marshall-Gradisnik, S. (2024). Investigation into the restoration of TRPM3 ion channel activity in post-COVID-19 condition: a potential pharmacotherapeutic target. Frontiers in immunology, 15, 1264702. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2024.1264702
  • Du Preez, S., Eaton-Fitch, N., Smith, P. K., & Marshall-Gradisnik, S. (2023). Altered TRPM7-Dependent Calcium Influx in Natural Killer Cells of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients. Biomolecules, 13(7), 1039. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom13071039
  • Venter, C., Smith, P. K., & Fleischer, D. M. (2023). Food allergy prevention: Where are we in 2023?. Asia Pacific allergy, 13(1), 15–27. https://doi.org/10.5415/apallergy.0000000000000001
  • Lesslar, O. & Smith, P. (2021). Itch Beyond the Skin—Mucosal Itch. Frontiers in Allergy. 2. https://doi.org/10.3389/falgy.2021.700368
  • Watts, A. M., West, N. P., Zhang, P., Smith, P. K., Cripps, A. W., & Cox, A. J. (2021). The Gut Microbiome of Adults with Allergic Rhinitis Is Characterised by Reduced Diversity and an Altered Abundance of Key Microbial Taxa Compared to Controls. International archives of allergy and immunology, 182(2), 94–105. https://doi.org/10.1159/000510536
  • Close, S., Marshall-Gradisnik, S., Byrnes, J., Smith, P.K., Nghiem, S. & Staines, D. (2020). The Economic Impacts of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in an Australian Cohort. Frontiers in Public Health, 8, 402. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.00420
  • Balinas, C., Nguyen, T., Johnston, S., Smith, P.K., Staines, D. & Marshall-Gradisnik, S. (2017). Investigation of mast cell toll-like receptor 3 in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Systemic Mastocytosis participants using the novel application of autoMACS magnetic separation and flow cytometry. Asian Pacific journal of allergy and immunology, 36. https://doi.org/10.12932/AP-200517-0086
  • Full list (ResearchGate)

Dr Graham Exelby, MBBS

POTS results in autonomic and inflammatory chaos, and is a central nervous system disorder. It has strong associations with ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, and Long COVID.

In keeping with the emergent knowledge of POTS, Long COVID, ME/CFS, migraine, ADHD, ASD, Parkinson’s disease and fibromyalgia all involve “sensitisation” of the neural tissues.

POTS has activators that combine to cause its onset, and drivers that continue the symptoms and which are part of the melting pot of POTS and its comorbidities.  There are also DNA mutations that are responsible for a dysfunctional immune response.  The mechanical and “hydraulic” drivers have been identified with innovative radiology.

In this lecture Dr Exelby will explain how to use these tools and insights to diagnose and manage POTS successfully.

Dr Exelby graduated from University of Queensland in 1973, working in rural Queensland before returning to Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast in 1978.  His primary areas of interests are POTS, Long COVID, and their co-comorbidities especially Fibromyalgia from 2008.

He is heavily influenced by pioneer allergist Dr Merv Garrett and ACNEM, ongoing research is supported by DNA work with Dr Valerio Vittone, general support from Professor Pete Smith, retired infectious diseases physician Jon Jenkins, and a number of radiologists developing innovative scanning especially Dr Zane Sherif. POTS rehabilitation programs are being developed with assistance from acupuncturists,  MSK physicians and lateral-thinking physiotherapists, osteopaths and lymphatic therapists.

Dr Sandeep Gupta, MBBS, MA, FRACGP, FACNEM

Dr Gupta will present a case study of MCAS triggered by environmental mould exposure/water-damaged building.

ACIIDS Co-secretary

Dr Gupta is a vocationally registered general practitioner who runs an integrative medicine clinic on the Sunshine Coast. His main passion relates to finding the underlying causes and innovated approaches to managing chronic illness. Dr Gupta graduated from medical school at the University of Queensland 1999. He has received specialized training in integrative medicine, and was awarded a Fellowship of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine in 2008 and a Fellowship of the Australian College of General Practitioners in 2010.

He also has a physician training certification with Dr Ritchie Shoemaker in biotoxin illness and Masters of Nutrition with Dr Gabriel Cousens in diabetes and living food nutrition.

Dr Gupta has a broad range of interests including environmental medicine, management of cardiology and cancer cases, mast cell activation syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity,  and management of chronic infections.

Websites

Social Media

Research

  • Gupta, S. (2014). Surviving Mould Down Under. SurvivingMold.comLink.
  • Berndtson, K., McMahon, S., Ackerley, M., Rapaport, S., Gupta, S. & Shoemaker, R.C. (2015). Medically sound investigation and remediation of water-damaged buildings in cases of CIRS-WDB – Consensus statement – Pt 1. SurvivingMold.comFull text

Dr Hugh Derham, MBBS, FRACGP, FACRRM

Dr Derham will be speaking on inflammation and the triggers and aggravating factors in ME/CFS, MCAS, and the treatment of viruses and stealth infections.

ACIIDS Board Member

Patients in Australia have been presenting to Dr Hugh Derham with Lyme-like illness for almost a decade. Symptoms can be mild such as brain fog, difficulty thinking and fatigue, to severe presentations of Bell’s palsy and Motor Neuron Disease. Symptoms can last for decades and in most cases can go unrecognised. Dr Derham has been diagnosing and treating patients with Borreliosis infections in Australia since 2010, with some patients having never left Australian shores, and is convinced that a strain or a species of Borrelia, strikingly similar to B. burgdorferi, exists in Australia.

Dr Derham worked in outer metropolitan General Practice Armadale in Perth 1981-1990, doing regular anaesthetics and Obstetrics, then as a solo GP in remote Southern Cross 1991-1998. Emergency Medicine St John of God Murdoch in Perth 1998-2004.

From 2004 his suburban General Practice has had a large interest in Nutritional Medicine and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and awareness of chronic infections including Borreliosis (Lyme Disease) since 2010. Currently, over 80% of his practice consists of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), and/or Fibromyalgia, mostly with chronic infections. Over the last several years Dr Derham has had an increasing interest in the pivotal role of MCAS and its relationship to ME/CFS, Lyme-like illness and other complex chronic illnesses.

Dr Smith, Dr Exelby, Dr Gupta, Dr Derham

All speakers from Saturday will convene for a panel about Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and treatments for ME/CFS and Long COVID, taking questions from attendees.

MC (Both Days)

Dr Anjana Arunachalam,
MBBS, BSc, FRAGP, FACNEM

ACIIDS Co-secretary

Dr. Arunchalam’s approach toward Medicine is based on the understanding that we are each a unique blend of our genetic, biochemical, environmental, emotional, and spiritual experiences. She aspires to collaborate with the best of the integrative, functional, and holistic medical worlds and marry them with traditional medical knowledge to provide the best outcomes for my patients. This involves the incorporation of clinical evidence-based scientific research and functional investigations with the intention of identifying the underlying disease processes.

Dr. Arunachalam has worked at a dedicated functional medical clinic focusing on complex fatigue, digestive disorders, and children for several years. This led her to grow her own Integrative practice in Balwyn, Victoria. Integrative Medicine is her passion and she aspires to live life based on these principles.

Sunday 3rd November 2024

Dr Leila Masson, MD, MPH, FRACP, FACNEM

Dr Leila Mason will take you on a timeline journey through the establishment of the microbiome from pregnancy through childhood.

She will review the latest research and highlight common medical interventions that affect the microbiome negatively, and will offer alternative, microbiome-friendly, options. Whatever microbiome a child has by the time they are about 2-3 years old is what their immune system sets as the norm. That is why it is imperative to provide paediatric care that supports a healthy microbiome, and avoid lifestyle choices, medications, and interventions that harm it.

Dr Leila Masson is a Sydney-based consultant paediatrician and author of “Children’s Health A-Z” a parent’s guide to natural therapies for common childhood ailments. 

She specialises in nutritional and environmental medicine for children’s health issues, including allergies, behaviour problems, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and PANS/PANDAS. She sees patients at her clinic in Tamarama and offers online courses for parents and health practitioners.

She received her medical doctorate from the Free University of Berlin and did her paediatric specialist training at the University of California in San Francisco. She received her Master in Public Health from Harvard University and her Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine and the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs. Dr Masson is a board member of AIMA, the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association. She is also on the board of professional advisors of La Leche League New Zealand. 

Website

Social Media

Book

Masson, L. (2015). Children’s Health A to Z for New Zealand Parents. Amazon (Aus)

Dr Henry Butt, PhD, MSc

The prevalence of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGIDs) is quoted 54.2% worldwide with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) being the best studied and understood. IBS patients are also known to have an acid colon, yet this information and Rome IV criteria for FGIDs are not well understood in clinical practices.

Dr Butt’s lecture will provide evidence to support the colonic pH of FGIDs/IBS patients is acidic, that the acidity of the colon can lead to a significant change of the patient’s gut microbial ecosystem, affecting the patient’s neurocognitive functions and sleep pattern in ‘Alteration of the CNS processing’; food sensitivity, gut-skin axis with psoriasis and eczema in ‘Visceral Hypersensitivity.’

Dr Butt is the managing director of Bioscreen a faecal microbiome testing company based in Melbourne.

He has extensive experience in clinical and faecal microbiology. Dr Butt has a keen interest in the role of gut bacteria in health and in individuals with functional gut disorders.

Dr Butt is a former Clinical Bacteriologist at the Hunter Area Health and Tutor of Clinical Microbiology for NSW rural hospitals. Conjoint Lecturer at Newcastle University. Senior Fellow of Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne, and Conjoint Associate Professor at Victoria University.

He was part of the Newcastle research team that published ground-breaking research into the microbiome and metabolism of ME/CFS patients in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Website

Select Research

  • Ganci, M., Suleyman, E., Butt, H., & Ball, M. (2022). Associations between self-reported psychological symptom severity and gut microbiota: further support for the microgenderome. BMC psychiatry, 22(1), 307. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-022-03947-7
  • Ganci, M., Butt, H., Tyrrell, J. et al. (2021). The effect of Blastocystis sp. and Dientamoeba fragilis on psychological symptom severity in a sample of clinically diverse males and females. Curr Psychol, 42, 4017–4030. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01700-z
  • Ganci, M., Suleyman, E., Butt, H., & Ball, M. (2019). The role of the brain-gut-microbiota axis in psychology: The importance of considering gut microbiota in the development, perpetuation, and treatment of psychological disorders. Brain and behavior, 9(11), e01408. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1408
  • Wallis, A., Ball, M., Butt, H., Lewis, D. P., McKechnie, S., Paull, P., Jaa-Kwee, A., & Bruck, D. (2018). Open-label pilot for treatment targeting gut dysbiosis in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: neuropsychological symptoms and sex comparisons. Journal of translational medicine, 16(1), 24. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-018-1392-z
  • Jackson, M. L., Butt, H., Ball, M., Lewis, D. P., & Bruck, D. (2015). Sleep quality and the treatment of intestinal microbiota imbalance in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A pilot study. Sleep science (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 8(3), 124–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.slsci.2015.10.001
  • Armstrong, C. W., McGregor, N. R., Butt, H. L., & Gooley, P. R. (2014). Metabolism in chronic fatigue syndrome. Advances in clinical chemistry, 66, 121–172. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-801401-1.00005-0
  • Sheedy, J. R., Wettenhall, R. E., Scanlon, D., Gooley, P. R., Lewis, D. P., McGregor, N., Stapleton, D. I., Butt, H. L., & DE Meirleir, K. L. (2009). Increased d-lactic Acid intestinal bacteria in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. In vivo (Athens, Greece), 23(4), 621–628. https://iv.iiarjournals.org/content/23/4/621.long
  • McGregor, N. R., Zerbes, M., Niblett, S. H., Dunstan, R. H., Roberts, T. K., Butt, H. L., & Klineberg, I. J. (2003). Coagulase-negative staphylococcal membrane-damaging toxins, pain intensity, and metabolic changes in temporomandibular disorder patients with chronic muscle pain. Journal of orofacial pain, 17(2), 125–132.

Dr Rebecca Ryan, BMBS (Hons), FRACGP

Dr Ryan will detail a comprehensive examination of the entire Gut-Brain Axis, taking into consideration multiple factors, including Genetics, Diet, Exercise and Stress, and how they collectively contribute to your symptoms.

While acknowledging stress as a potential trigger and contributor for maintaining Functional Gut Symptoms, Dr Ryan’s approach goes beyond attributing symptoms solely to psychological factors. Instead it underscores the significance of understanding the broader physiological connections between the Gut and the Brain.

Dr Ryan is an Australian trained Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist known for her expertise in complex medical conditions and her focus on the Gut-Brain connection. Dr Ryan’s extensive experience stems from completing her Core Gastroenterology years at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and finishing her Advanced Training in General and Transplant Hepatology at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane in 2007. Following this, she transitioned to the private sector. She specialises in Disorders of the Gut-Brain Axis (DGBA), which explores the links between Gut Dysbiosis and the effects of Psychological and Inflammatory stress on the body.

Dr Janet Kim, MBBS, FRACGP, FACNEM

Dr Kim will delve into a case study on microbiome testing

Dr Kim graduated in medicine from the University of New South Wales in 1987. She went on to complete a certificate of family planning in 1989, followed by a Diploma of Counselling Psychotherapy through the Australian College of Applied Psychology in 1992 and a certificate in general practice through the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners in 1993. That same year she also completed a certificate in Medical Acupuncture through the NSW Medical Acupuncture Course. In 2011 the completed a Fellowship of the Australasian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (FACNEM) and then in 2015 completed the Shoemaker certification in Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).

She runs a solo practice at St Leonards, Sydney.

She is a member of the ACIIDS as well as the International Society of Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI). She is a keen world traveler, as well as a yogi, gym junkie, and detoxer extraordinaire.

Reine DuBois, Adv Dip.ND, Adv Dip Hom

Reine will talk about her experience as an Integrative Naturopath on the treatment and management of MCAS, and the microbiome, including herbal treatment of SIBO.

Reine DuBois is a senior Integrative Naturopath at The Health Lodge in Byron Bay. She has worked integratively with Doctors since she graduated as a Naturopath in 1998 and is one of Australia’s leading Integrative Naturopaths.

As founder of The Health Lodge, Reine has lectured for ACNEM, AIMA, MINDD and ANS on the powerful method of integrative medicine. She recognises that if we work together to solve the chronic health conditions that remain a mystery to modern day medicine, we’ll develop a new paradigm of health solutions. As Clinical Director of The Health Lodge, Reine facilitates and coordinates the biweekly team meetings with the whole healthcare team, creating collaborative health opportunities to the benefit of both patients and practitioners at The Health Lodge.

As an Integrative Naturopath, Reine possesses an exceptional capacity to see and understand the intricacies of the human system. She is well-known for uncovering complex health conditions and coordinating treatments for chronic health issues. Reine is a health detective who works with all practitioners to create the best combination of care for her clients.

Reine has a special interest in chronic illnesses and complex conditions, such as tick-borne disease, mould-related illnesses, ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and heavy metal toxicity.

Dr Masson, Dr Butt, Dr Ryan, Dr Kim, Reine DuBois

All speakers from Sunday will convene for a panel about the all aspects of the microbiome, the gut-brain axis, and functional gastrointestinal disorders, taking questions from attendees.

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