The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.

The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) is fighting for the recognition of M.E.,
and for patients to be accorded the same basic human rights as those with similar
disabling and potentially fatal neurological diseases such as M.S.

Super summaries

This page features the super summarised versions of 'What is M.E.?' and 'M.E.: The medical facts.'

These super-summaries are available in a printable business card or small leaflet format as well as PDF format.

See the Downloads section below to download these texts in various formats.

What is M.E.? Super summary

Copyright © Jodi Bassett 2004. This version updated March 2009. From www.hfme.org                         

Fatigue, ‘CFS’ and M.E. are not at all the same thing:

People with chronic fatigue may be tired because of cancer, MS, vitamin deficiency, a sleep disorder, depression or a large number of other reasons. Fatigue is a symptom of many illnesses. 20% of the population may currently suffer from some form of fatigue or chronic fatigue.



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a man-made construct created in the US in 1988 for the benefit of various political and financial vested interest groups. It is a mere diagnosis of exclusion (or wastebasket diagnosis) based on the presence of gradual or acute onset fatigue lasting 6 months. If tests show serious abnormalities, a person no longer qualifies for the diagnosis, as ‘CFS’ is ‘medically unexplained.’

A diagnosis of ‘CFS’ does not mean that a person has any distinct disease (including M.E.). Every diagnosis of CFS can only ever be a misdiagnosis. ‘CFS’ is made up of people with a vast array of unrelated illnesses. 2.54% of the population qualify for a ‘CFS’ (mis)diagnosis.

 

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a systemic neurological disease initiated by an enteroviral infection which is characterised by (scientifically measurable) damage to the brain stem which results in dysfunctions and damage to almost all vital bodily systems and a loss of normal internal homeostasis.

The onset of M.E. is always acute and M.E. can be diagnosed within just a few weeks. M.E. is an easily recognisable distinct organic neurological disease which can be verified by objective testing. If all tests are normal, then a diagnosis of M.E. cannot be correct.

M.E. can occur in both epidemic and sporadic forms and can be extremely disabling, or sometimes fatal.

M.E. is a chronic/lifelong disease that has existed for centuries. It shares similarities with MS, Lupus and Polio. There are more than 60 different neurological, cognitive, cardiac, metabolic, immunological, and other M.E. symptoms. Fatigue is not a defining nor even essential symptom of M.E. People with M.E. would give anything to instead only be severely ‘fatigued.’

Far fewer than 0.5% of the population has the distinct neurological disease known since 1956 as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

 

See the full-length (or extra extended) version of What is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis? A historical, medical and political overview for more information, and for a full list of references.

Permission is given for this document to be freely redistributed by e-mail or in print for any not-for-profit purpose provided that the entire text (including this notice and the author’s attribution) is reproduced in full and without alteration. Please redistribute this text widely.

M.E.: The medical facts - Super summary

Copyright © Jodi Bassett September 2008. This version updated March 2009. From www.hfme.org                         

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) has been recognised by the World Health Organisation since 1969 as a distinct organic neurological disorder with the code G.93.3.

M.E. occurs in epidemic and sporadic forms, over 60 outbreaks have been recorded worldwide since 1934. M.E. is similar in a number of significant ways to multiple sclerosis, Lupus and poliomyelitis (polio).

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a systemic acute onset neurological illness initiated by an enteroviral infection which is characterised by scientifically measurable post encephalitic damage to the brain stem. This is always damaged in M.E., (hence the name M.E.).

The term Myalgic Encephalomyelitis was coined in 1956 in the UK (using evidence from a number of M.E. autopsies), it means: My = muscle, Algic = pain, Encephalo = brain, Mye = spinal cord, Itis = inflammation.

More than 60 different neurological, cognitive, cardiac, vascular, immunological, muscular, metabolic and other symptoms have been documented in M.E.

M.E. affects all vital bodily systems and causes a loss of normal internal homeostasis. People with M.E. have severe limits post-illness with physical and cognitive activity, sensory input and orthostatic stress (being upright). Being active above these limits even in a minor way causes increased symptom severity (immediately and/or often with a 24-48 hour delay), prolonged relapse (lasting months, years or even longer), disease progression or death.

A series of tests can confirm a suspected M.E. diagnosis (e.g. MRI and SPECT brain scans). If all tests are normal, if specific abnormalities are not seen on certain of these tests , then a M.E. diagnosis cannot be correct.

M.E. is a chronic/lifelong disease that can be extremely severe and cause a profound level of disability and suffering. It can impose severe restrictions on all aspects of daily living including basic communication. More than 25% of patients are wheelchair-bound, bed-bound and/or housebound and in some cases M.E. is fatal.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis affects many thousands of children (as young as five) and adults all over the world.

 

See the full-length (or extended) version of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: The Medical Facts for more information, and for a full list of references.

Permission is given for this document to be freely redistributed by e-mail or in print for any not-for-profit purpose provided that the entire text (including this notice and the author’s attribution) is reproduced in full and without alteration. Please redistribute this text widely.

Downloads

To download a PDF copy of these two texts in standard format (plus large type format), click here.

More downloads are coming soon and will be available as soon as they are updated.

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Live Support

Exciting book news!

Click here to purchase the first HFME book!


The book 'Caring For The M.E. Patient' by Jodi Bassett includes a Foreword by international M.E. expert Dr Byron Hyde.

He writes:

"There is so much false information that is picked up and disseminated it is near impossible to hold one’s head above the water and sift through this morass of misinformation. Any attempt to seek the truth is always a major difficulty. Somehow, Jodi Bassett and Hummingbird have managed to plow through this field of weeds."

"This is a book that deserves being read, not only by patients and physicians with an interest in M.E. but the bureaucrats in the USA Centers for Disease Control who have done so much damage to the understanding of M.E. I recommend her book to all and wish it every best success."

Paperback $18.95
Hardcover $22.95