Posted by: Admin | September 8, 2010

New Hope for ME/CFS Sufferers?

The news today that Scientists at the University of Dundee have found new evidence about the cause of ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has given me cause to feel a small glimmer of hope. I say “small” because it’s early days yet, but since breakthroughs of this nature have been so few and far between in the 15 years I have been acquainted with this condition the glimmer is, nonetheless, there.

Every step can seem like a hill

Both my daughters have suffered from ME/CFS with daughter no.1 never fully recovering. To anyone unsure of what this means, recall the worst hangover you have ever experienced, then consider living with it day in, day out, with no hope of respite. Add to this constant pain which might fluctuate, but never fully abates, and imagine that every step you take feels as if you are wading through treacle – backwards. You might now have some small idea of what sufferers of this condition live with. Imagine now that you face constant scepticism from doctors, teachers (or your employer), friends and even family and you will realise that the only way in which ME/CFS can be regarded as a psychological condition is in so far as its consequences can cause mental anguish and depression.

The BBC reports that: “Samples taken from youngsters with ME/CFS contained higher than normal levels of free radicals – molecules that can damage cells, tissues and organs. A much greater number of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cells, were also found to be at the end of their lifecycle.The report said the high turnover of neutrophils indicated the body’s need to fight infection.”

I remember a naturapathic doctor, Dr Smallbone, telling me this years ago after he had analysed daughter no.1’s blood test results. As ever, this was pooh-poohed by allopathic consultants. Perhaps now that the science has caught up, something will be done.  The child interviewed by the BBC talks of his pain and isolation as he was branded a school refuser and told that his pain and exhaustion was “all in his mind”. This is 10 years after my daughters went through the same experience, and years after the World Health Organisation re-classified ME/CFS as a “neurological” as opposed to a “psychological” condition. It makes my heart ache to know that other children and their parents, (not to mention adult sufferers) are still going through this humiliating, frightening and isolating experience on top of dealing with a debilitating illness.

Discovering a possible cause is, of course, a long way from devising a cure, but it is a positive development. According to the BBC report, about 150,000 people in the UK have ME/CFS, 15,000 of whom are children. This report should give them hope.



  1. Doctors know more than they have ever known and have more information available than ever before yet they know nothing. The good ones admit it. I have met few of them (one).
    I’ve heard the “it’s all in your head” diagnosis until it makes me sick.

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