Daily Mail, letters page, December 27

December 27, 2007

‘Don't just dismiss this link with ME and polio'.

Victoria Lambert's appreciation of poliomyelitis and post-polio syndrome (Good Health) should have included the fact that ME and polio are almost certainly sister diseases, caused by the same family of viruses. Ten years ago, in my book ME: The New Plague, I argued that ME was a persistent viral infection related to poliomyelitis. When my study of ME in schools was published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it hit the headlines because it revealed that ME was the biggest cause of long-term sickness [absence] in children and staff.

On his TV show on the subject, Adam Boulton described ME as ‘attacking schoolchildren now'. Some children are bedridden or in wheelchairs, others can't swallow and have to be fed by tube. Sounds familiar? It should do. Yet the British scientists' lab work that underpinned my work was generally dismissed. This – tragically – led to misunderstandings and even to the mistreatment of children and young people in the UK, which still persists today.

We now require proper science about the link between ME and polio, not the psychobabble we've had to put up with for the past ten years. We must stand up for these genuinely sick children. The reason no one believed ME was a persistent viral infection related to poliomyelitis is outlined at www.tymestrust.org/tymesmagazine.htm along with news of the latest developments.


The Young ME Sufferers Trust, Stock, Essex

[Note supplied by Jane Colby: this letter was slightly edited for publication; in the original I referred to myself as ‘co-author' of the study in the Journal of CFS, since Dr Betty Dowsett and I carried it out together. I have also inserted the word ‘absence' in square brackets; it was omitted in the paper, which changes the meaning.]

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