The Autumn 2009 edition of ME Essential magazine – delivered to all members of the ME Association – has Amazon adventurer Ed Stafford on the front cover. He's raising money for our Tissue Bank Appeal with a long, hard slog from source of the river to its mouth. Inside, ME Essential comes much closer to home…
There's medical advice about how people with ME/CFS can look after themselves in the swine flu epidemic, and another Management File which scrutinises the evidence base for four supplements often used by people with ME/CFS in the belief that they reduce the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle fatigue.
And our medical adviser Dr Charles Shepherd answers six frequently asked questions about dry eyes, low-dose naltrexone, Critical Illness insurance cover, iron deficiency anaemia, joint pains and on whether getting down to the gym is such a good idea.
There's a three-page round-up of the recent Invest in ME research conference in London – including some pretty harsh things said by author Hillary Johnson about the US Centers for Disease Control at the conference dinner and by conference organiser Richard Simpson on the Government's attitude towards ME/CFS.
The news pages cover items as varied as comment on the recently announced hydrogren sulphide home-test kit for ME/CFS, the woman who had to skip her A-levels but still managed to grab a first class honours degree a few years later, and the Nisai virtual learning scheme which helps youngsters gain the educational qualifications they need if they had to drop out of school because of their illness.
There's our usual helping of parliamentary news, including a brief report of the inquiry into the state of NHS services for people with ME/CFS in England, and a sizzling range of book reviews – including one by the ‘NHS bog doctor' who highly commends Nasim Marie Jafry's debut novel, ‘The State of Me" (we stock that, by the way – click hereto look at our downloadable eight-page Order Form).
There's a fuller report about Ed, our Amazon man, in the second half of the mag – and we also catch up with the travels of Eric Smart, the 43-year-old who is cycling from Aberdeen to Australia and raising shedloads of cash for the ME Association in the process.
Our cartoonist Brendan Keeley gives his take on the MPs' expenses scandal and we give more information about the Just Four Quid campaign to raise a million pounds for ME research. Katie Ash supplies us with a brilliant concept photo which helped get the campaign going.
There are pictures of loads of fundraisers doing their wonderful stuff for the MEA. We launch our MEA Christmas cards for this year. And we tell how we've bought two guaranteed places in next year's London Marathon, and are looking for runners to take them on.
The usual 48-page issue also contains an excellent range of readers' letters:
- A dentist describes some dental products which can help keep your teeth gleaming and in good shape
- A reader discusses possible links between mouth ulcers and thyroid deficiency
- Another received a wake-up call about her ferritin levels while at the hairdresser
- Former BBC reporter Ian Birch and Mary Ashfold discuss the ‘permitted work' rules when claiming benefit
- A "highly stress, at wits end' MEA member wants to know just how far the Benefits Agency will go to try and catch you out.
- One reader urges us not to discount the value of drugs prescribed abroad but which can't be obtained in the UK
- Another urges us to go it alone with our plans to set up an ME/CFS Tissue Bank
- And there's a beautifully-composed letter from John Andrew Denny wanting to know readers' choices of poems to include in a new anthology. If you've got any tips, please email them to Mr Denny.