ME AWARENESS MONTH
A national campaign throughout the UK
aimed at raising awareness of the neurological illness Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) and publicizing events to raise funds for
biomedical research into ME.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) is defined by the World Health
Organisation as a neurological illness (code WHO-ICD-10-G93.3). With
at least 250,000 sufferers of ME in the UK alone, many of them
children, ME is estimated (by parliamentary EDM 260) as costing the
UK economy £3.5 billion per year and the true figure may be even
greater. No public funding of biomedical research is currently
taking place in the UK so biomedical research projects are funded
solely by the work of ME support groups and individuals.
At present there is no medical diagnostic test for ME and no
known specific treatment or cure.
Despite the impression often given by the press and psychological
professionals, ME is not a psychological illness; psychological
investigations (which have had the lion's share of research funding
in the past) cannot uncover its cause and psychological therapies
cannot provide a cure.
The varying symptoms experienced by many severe ME sufferers may
visual problems, vocal/muscular limitations, general chronic
weakness of limbs, cognitive problems such as memory loss &
concentration difficulties, problems with balance and fine motor
control, muscle pain, malaise, hypersensitivity, sleep &
temperature disturbance, cardiovascular symptoms,
digestive disturbances, neurological disturbances
ME is a multi-system illness and requires investment in
biomedical research to provide treatment and a cure. The recent case
Sophia Mirza, who died from ME, shows the urgency of funding
research into treatments and in finding a cure. ME is five times
more prevalent in the UK than HIV/AIDS.
During May 2007 events up and down the country will raise
awareness of ME. Two ME charities –
ME Research UK and Invest
in ME are joining forces to
arrange and publicise conferences and
Have a Cuppa events for
ME Awareness Month 2007.
On 1st-2nd May 2007 Invest in ME will be hosting the second IiME International ME/CFS Conference in London. ME Research UK will
be hosting their conference in Edinburgh on 25th May 2007.
Other events around the world will be announced in the months
leading up to May 2007 – with ME Awareness Day (12th May) being the
focal point for the month. Our aims are -
1. Funding research: With no public funding of biomedical
research into ME we are hoping to attract more funding for research
activities coordinated by ME Research UK. We hope that the
government will recognize the high-quality research being carried
out by scientists being funded by ME Research UK.
2. Raising awareness: ME needs more awareness from the public,
politicians and healthcare staff. It is now the leading cause for
long term absence from school. ME Awareness Month will be an
opportunity to raise the profile of ME and allow more knowledge
about the illness to be provided.
3. Providing a voice: 25% of people diagnosed with ME are
severely affected – house-bound, often bed-bound, left with little
help from the medical community, often made to struggle to obtain
benefits and left to an uncertain and debilitating future.