‘Call for more money for ME research’

September 5, 2008

From the Bromsgrove Standard, September 5 (report from Tristan Harris)

The chairman of the Worcestershire ME Support Group Ian Logan has called for more funding for research into the debilitating illness.

It comes just days after the inquest into the death of Bromsgrove ME sufferer Nicola McNougher who travelled to Switzerland to take her own life, using the country's legal ‘assisted suicide' system, after the condition got too much for her.

She has now left body tissue to the ME Association so research can be carried out into the illness, what causes it and what can be done to relieve symptoms and, maybe, find a cure.

ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), can have a range of symptoms, including muscular and mental fatigue and pain, especially in the limbs, shoulders and spine, emotional liability, including frustration, headaches, giddiness and balance problems and cognitive disturbance – memory, concentration and dyslexia.

Mr Logan, diagnosed with slow onset ME around 20 years ago, was a self-employed engineer, but it got to the stage, because of the illness, where he could not even carry his tools to the car.

He told The Standard: "For people who have ME, the pain is relentless and  when relief does come, it is often short-lived.

"A lot of money has gone into the psychological effects of ME, but not much  has been found out about it.

"More needs to be done to investigate the physiological aspects," he added.

He said sufferers of ME often felt alone because there was no-one to turn to – GPs frequently referred patients to specialists, but because their  knowledge was usually about infectuous diseases in general, they would send them back to the GP.

"They all resort to the NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence)  guidlines for treating ME, which are not fit for purpose.

"There are also very few specialists for the GPs to refer patients to," added Mr Logan.

The Worcestershire ME Support Group was set up so people with the illness  could talk to others in the same situation and, when that happened, it was  uncanny how their symptoms were similar.

ME has been dismissed in the past by people who implied the illness just did  not exist.

But, Mr Logan said, about a quarter of patients, known as the '25 per  centers' suffered that badly, they were permanently house or bed-bound with  the condition and would not be seen ‘out and about'.

For more on the Worcestershire ME Support Group, which meets in six areas in  the county, log onto: www.geocities.com/worcsmegroup or call Mr Logan on  01886 888419 or Jill Piggott on 01905 455187.

The next meetings are at Droitwich Methodist Church, Amphlett House,  Worcester Road, Droitwich, WR9 8AW, tomorrow (Saturday, September 6) between  2pm and 4pm and, on September 18, from 1.15pm to 3.15pm at Bromsgrove  Methodist Centre, Methodist Centre, 19 Stratford Road, Bromsgrove, B60 1AS.

ME will also be one of the conditions covered by Invisible Illness Week  which runs from Monday (September 8) to next Sunday (September 14).

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