The MEA has republished Dr Melvin Ramsay’s book that covers the historical outbreaks of ME.
This includes the famous outbreak at the Royal Free Hospital, which led to The Lancet editorial and the widespread introduction of the term ME/myalgic encephalomyelitis here in the UK.
There are detailed accounts of what Melvin described as the epidemic form (ie the outbreaks in Iceland, South Africa/Durban, Cumbria, Royal Free, etc) of ME and the sporadic (ie individual cases) form of the disease in the book.
It should be noted that the clinical descriptions – which included hard neurological signs such as cranial nerve palsies – of the doctors and patients who were admitted to the Royal Free Hospital are not the same as the clinical presentations that we normally see during the acute phase in sporadic cases today.
I knew Melvin for many years, right up to the year he died, and discussed these similarities and differences with him on many occasions.
The book is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the early history of ME and the enormous contribution that was made by Melvin.
MEA literature order form: www.meassociation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/MEA-Order-Form-30-12-14-copy.pdf
Details of Melvin’s book are on page 7.
It can also be purchased for £6 online here: www.meassociation.org.uk/shop/books/saga-of-royal-free-disease/
Dr Melvin Ramsay had a close and longstanding relationship with the MEA, as did his daughter Louie Ramsay. This is why we named our research fund The MEA Ramsay Research Fund.
Dr Charles Shepherd
Honorary Medical Adviser, The ME Association