There will be a warm welcome for a controversial medical researcher at a big M.E. patients conference in Newry on Sunday (November 11).
US researcher Dr Judy Mikovits, who spent three years trying to convince other scientists that a much argued about mouse virus was linked to the spread of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, will join a world-class line-up of speakers at the Mourne Country Hotel in Newry at 2pm.
Dr Mikovits, who then bravely volunteered to take part a major study which finally disproved the theory when it reported in September, will discuss what happened during those three years and suggest ways forward for ME research.
The multi-centre study finally dashed the hopes of millions of sufferers round the world who had hoped the mouse virus might lead eventually to a cure.
But Joan McParland – chairman of the Newry and Mourne ME Support Group, who are organising Sunday's conference – said: “Despite what happened, there will be a huge welcome for Judy. She first came over to speak at a conference for us in Belfast in May last year when we saw that not only was she a superb scientist but a warm, generous human being.
“We invited her to come back for a holiday with her husband but then she accepted this invitation to speak to us.”
The event will be Dr Mikovits' first speech in Europe since the curtain was lowered on the mouse-virus theory.
Sunday's conference has been called by New York-based M.E. specialist Dr Derek Enlander, who was born and educated in Northern Ireland and is a regular visitor. It will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Newry, Councillor John McArdle.
Also scheduled to speak are Dr Charles Shepherd, medical adviser to the UK ME Association, and M.E. consultant Dr William Weir, who holds specialist clinics in Northern Ireland.
Professor Kenny De Meirleir, from Belgium, originally listed as a speaker, has had to cry off because of unforeseen circumstances.
Anyone with an interest in the illness will be welcome to attend. Entry will cost £5 and bookings can be made by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joan McParland spoke about the conference for six minutes on BBC Radio Ulster's ‘Gerry Anderson Show' this morning. To listen to Joan and the presenter, click on the following link and then scroll in 1hr 14mins: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nqcdz