Valerie Eliot Smith
Valerie Eliot Smith is an established independent writer and advocate in the international ME community. She is a British barrister who has lived with myalgic encephalomyelitis/(ME) in varying degrees of severity since 1981. Since 2010, she has expanded her earlier research on health and legal matters, with a particular emphasis on the issues facing the ME community.
Valerie argues that a completely revised and much broader approach must be adopted towards the ME community's media strategy. She believes that this is essential in order to change the damaging and stigmatised culture which is frequently imputed to the ME community.
Since 2012, Valerie has been documenting her work via her blog "Law and Health: due process and civil society". The headline topics include: The "Secret" Files on ME; Karina Hansen, Prisoner of Denmark; The PACE Trial controversy; Changing the Narrative (an examination of the community's media strategy); the English National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE); Covid-19 and long Covid; Open Justice.
Since 2014, Valerie has been a Visiting Scholar at the postgraduate Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). For more information about her professional background and experience, see the About section of her blog.
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myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.