The first of a number of major UK conferences which this year aim to show that the serious disabling condition ME has a real pathological basis – that it's not just "all in the mind" – will be held in Southampton on Tuesday February 12.
Hampshire Solutions, a newly-forged local alliance of people with ME and related conditions, has got together with world-renowned immunologist Professor Stephen Holgate for a day-long collaborative workshop open to patients, doctors and other interested people at Southampton General Hospital.
The event will provide a platform for doctors and researchers from round the world who will explain how their studies when put together provide powerful evidence for the physical causation and nature of ME, which some doctors call chronic fatigue syndrome, and related fibromyalgia.
Called "Putting the Patient at the Centre", the conference will be co-chaired by Stephen Holgate, professor of clinical pharmacology at Southampton University, and David Peters, first professor of integrated health care at Westminster University.
Speakers will include academics and doctors from the US, Canada and Spain as well as ME cutting-edge researchers from the UK.
A spokesman for The ME Association, which is supporting the event, said: "There's huge interest from people with ME in finding answers to the big questions about what causes this illness, and makes it so difficult to treat. We're just not getting these answers from the psychiatrists who dismiss us by saying it's all in the mind.
"The aim of the speakers lined up for this biomedical conference is to rekindle interest in research into the physical causes of ME – which is thought to affect 250,000 people in the UK. And it will be followed by similar events put on by different organisations in Cambridge and London later in the year.
"One day, because of all the biomedical studies into ME that are taking place now, we should have lab tests which diagnose ME reliably and will provide indisputable proof that the condition is physical in nature".
The cost of attendance at the Southampton event will be £50 for doctors and healthcare professionals, £35 for academics and lay people and £20 for patients and carers. Students with NUS cards will be admitted free.
For full details and tickets, contact Fiona at The Point of Health, tel: 023 8026 0227.
Notes to Newsdesks:
1. For any further information, please contact Tony Britton, Publicity Manager, The ME Association, tel: 01406 370293, mob: 07880 502927, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Speakers at the Southampton event on February 12:
- Martin Pall, professor of biochemistry – basic medical science, Washington State University
- Dr Jonathan Kerr, Sir Joseph Hotung senior lecturer in inflammation at St George's Hospital Medical School, University of London, and consultant in microbiology in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
- Dr Russell Lane, consultant neurologist at Charing Cross Hospital, London
- Dr Byron Hyde, physician and founder of the Nightingale Foundation, Canada, which specialises in ME
- Dr Estabiliz Olana-Martin, from Bilboa in Spain
- Malcolm Hooper, professor of medicinal chemistry, Sunderland University
- Dr Abhijit Chaudhuri, consultant neurologist at the Queens Hospital, Romford, Essex, and his research colleague, Dr Federico Roncaroli
- Hugh Perry, professor of experimental neuropthy, Southampton University.