Norwich Evening News: 3/8/05


Sarah Hall


A city man who suffers from ME has called for an inquiry to prove the condition is physical. Kevin Short, 45, from Dereham Road, has the support of MP Dr Ian Gibson, who has met an expert in the condition and wants an inquiry before the end of the year.

A man who has been living with ME for 20 years has called for an independent inquiry to stop the "persecution" of patients and prove the condition is a physical one.

Kevin Short, 45, is keen for a broad-ranging probe into the causes of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and the treatment of patients.

Norwich North MP Ian Gibson today demanded an inquiry to get rid of the stigma surrounding the illness once and for all.

Mr Short, from Dereham Road in Norwich, said people had refused to take the condition seriously, still calling it "yuppie flu".

He said there was proven neurological evidence that the condition was physical and genetic and wants to dispel any suggestions that it is a physicatiric disorder.

He has the support of Norwich North MP and senior scientist Dr Ian Gibson who met ME expert Professor Malcolm Hooper, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Sunderland, to discuss the seriousness of the situation facing ME sufferers.

"ME patients are being persecuted," Mr Short said. "We are sick and tired of people thinking it is all in the mind and doesn't really exist.

"How can it be yuppie flu when thousands and thousands of people across the world suffers from it?

"It has been recognised as a physical condition by the World Health Organisation since the 1930s. I want the inquiry to prove this once and for all."

ME is a debilitating illness which leaves the sufferer feeling constantly tired and symptoms include constant weakness, pins and needles in the hands and feet and dizzy spells.

Mr Short, a former engineer has had ME since the mid 1980's.

"I struggle every day with mobility, like many others who have ME," he said. "It can get depressing but I generally just keep myself on top of things.

"It would be nice if we got the support we need."

Currently there is conflicting professional opinion on ME with some scientists suggesting it is a psychological illness and others claiming they have proof it is a genetic disorder.

Mr Short and Dr Gibson both believe an inquiry is vital to dispel once and for all suggestions the condition does not really exist and open up vital funding streams.

ME affects around 200,000 people in the UK.

According to Dr Gibson, UK government policy and funding is concerned only with psychiatric and behavioural approaches which ME sufferers believe to be wholly inappropriate.

"For some sufferers this is harmful," Dr Gibson said. "We are calling for a proper parliamentary inquiry so we can hear both expert and public testimony from all sides.

"Nothing seems to be getting done in terms of research and we really need to get to the root of the problem.

"Some say it is psychiatric and others say it is physical but it could be a bit of both. Sometimes there are many causes for one illness but it cannot keep being dismissed.

"I want an inquiry before the end of the year."


(Reproduction courtesy Norwich Evening News & Archant)


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