Portal:History and People

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History and People

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), a disease that occurs both sporadically and as cluster outbreaks, was first documented in Los Angeles in 1934. Since, there have been dozens of outbreaks recorded in the medical literature, most notably the 1948-49 Akureyri, Iceland outbreak, 1955 Royal Free Hospital Outbreak in London and the 1984 outbreak in Incline Village, Nevada. The disease's existence almost certainly predates 1934, and may have been unrecognized for centuries or misdiagnosed as hysteria, neurasthenia, and later, conversion disorder.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis was first known as atypical polio and later called "Icelandic disease" until it was officially named myalgic encephalomyelitis following the 1955 London outbreak. ME was recognized as a neurological disease by the World Health Organization in 1970. Following the 1984 outbreak in Nevada, it was renamed and recharacterized by the Centers for Disease Control as "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome."

In 2015, the US Institute of Medicine, based on a review of several decades of research, created a new definition of the disease and proposed a new name: Systemic exertion intolerance disease. Patient advocacy and a renewed interest in the disease among clinicians and scientists have led many new research groups to join the field in recent years, prompting several new discoveries and promising treatments to be tested via clinical trials. (more...)

Selected historical articles

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Florence Nightingale (1820 - 1910) was a British nurse who is considered the founder of modern nursing. She was affectionately called "The Lady with a Lamp" referring to how she carried an oil lamp during hospital night rounds. While stationed in Crimea, Nightingale developed "Crimean fever" (a bacteria infection now known as brucellosis) and never recovered. Although Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) were not defined in her lifetime, many current physicians and medical historians believe she developed ME/CFS as a result of a chronic brucellosis infection. Despite being bedbound, Nightingale continued to work until her death on advancing the nursing profession and lobbying for regulatory changes to hospitals.(more...)

Advocates

Rivka Solomon is a writer and a patient advocate for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). She resides in Massachusetts. She became ill with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) in 1990 while studying international relations at graduate school and has remained ill since. She has coordinated protests and has written articles about ME/CFS. (more...)

Clinicians

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Professor Dr. Kenny L. De Meirleir is a Belgian Internal Medicine doctor who specializes in ME/CFS. He frequently partners with numerous myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) researchers in the EU, UK, US, and Australia to further the understanding of the pathophysiology of ME/CFS. He was an editor of the former Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.(more...)

In the news

Selected picture

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People at the Millions Missing Dublin protest in 2017.

Scientists

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Julia L. Newton is a Clinical Professor of Ageing and Medicine at the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom. She has published a number of ME/CFS studies focusing on autonomic nervous system dysfunction and the role of inflammation in fatigue. She is a member of the UK CFS/ME Collaborative and is the Joint Medical Adviser of the charity Action for ME. (more...)

Books & Film

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The State of Me is a 2008 autobiographical novel by Nasim Jafry

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