Category Archives: Information about ME

Dr Charles Shepherd’s Talk at our 2012 AGM

At our annual general meeting in October 2012 Dr. Charles Shepherd, Medical Adviser to the ME Association gave a talk about ME. As many of you will know, he has M.E. himself and has been a champion of biomedical research into ME and a better deal for people with M.E. from the benefit system for many years.  He is active on several M.E. fronts and was very well placed to give us an update on key developments in the M.E. world.

As many of our members were too ill to travel to the meeting, a kind member provided a transcript of the talk.


What is ME?

M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), which is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome, is a chronic, disabling illness, which can affect both adults and children. It is currently estimated that there are over 250,000 sufferers throughout the U.K., and around 25,000 of these are children.

After many years of controversy surrounding this illness, the World Health Organisation now classifies M.E. as a neurological illness. It is commonly triggered by a viral infection and anyone, regardless of age, sex or ethnic background can develop the illness.

The symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common ones are:
– Profound, lasting fatigue, which does not improve with rest
– Severe joint and muscle pain
– Persistent headaches
– Impaired memory and concentration
– Sore throat, and/or enlarged lymph glands
– Abdominal pain and/or nausea
– Disturbed sleep pattern
– Poor temperature regulation
– Sensitivity to light and noise

There is no known cure for M.E., although an early diagnosis, adequate rest in the early stages and effective advice on the management of the illness can significantly improve the chances of a full recovery. M.E. can last between a few months and many years. Only twenty percent of sufferers are likely to make a full recovery in two to four years. Of the remaining group, around 60% improve significantly over time, whilst 20% become chronically and severely disabled.

Many people affected by ME are unable to work, having had to give up after the onset of the illness, and become reliant on whatever state benefits they can claim. Sadly, due to the ongoing misunderstanding surrounding the illness, many sufferers do not receive the level of benefits they are entitled to, and endure financial hardship as a result.



So as to make it easy for anyone who is ill to find us, we use the terms M.E., Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFS, CFS/ME and ME/CFS interchangeably,