UH fish-toxin expert gets national award
Yoshitsugi Hokama, the University of Hawaii's world authority on fish toxins, received a national award for his work linking ciguatera poisoning to chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome.
The National CFIDS Foundation gave him its 2007 Outstanding Researcher Award. He was the first to discover ciguatoxin in the blood of chronic fatigue syndrome patients. Since his discovery was announced at a 2002 medical conference in Japan, Hokama has obtained an international blood permit so patients suffering with the disease worldwide could have access to testing offered by the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine.
His test identified ciguatera toxin reactivity in the blood of more than 95 percent of people afflicted with CFIDS, a debilitating chronic illness that affects the brain and other systems of the body, according to the medical school.
"Our medical school is pleased to support Dr. Hokama's pioneering research, which has the potential to help millions suffering from the crippling effects of chronic fatigue syndrome," interim medical school Dean Gary Ostrander said in a news release.
Hokama's research was used by Oceanit Test Systems to develop Cigua-Check, a ciguatera fish poison detector kit.
The National CFIDS Foundation Inc. was founded 10 years ago primarily to support medical research to find a cause, treatments and a cure for the disease.
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