Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

A note from the Editors about the use of initials/acronyms in this article:

Most of the slides prepared by Dr. Kenneth Friedman, the guest speaker for the second part of this forum, displayed "ME/CFS" in reference to the illness. However, during their verbal co-presentations, Dr. Friedman and Dr. Gurwitt often used "CFS", which still designates the name most used in the medical research community, i.e. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Therefore, this summary will show both acronyms, relatively in sync with their use throughout this program. Elsewhere on this website the illness may be called CFS/CFIDS/ME, for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome /Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Similarly, MassCFIDS, a shorter, long-standing form of the Association's name, is frequently used in longer articles for clarity and brevity.

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association (Mass CFIDS) held its Fall 2011 educational forum, co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Health, on November 5, 2011, at the UMass-Hinton State Laboratory Institute Auditorium in Jamaica Plain, MA. The second segment of this forum focused on developments and discussions from the September 2011 International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (IACFS/ME) Conference held in Ottawa, Canada, which could have considerable impact on ME/CFS patients. The guest speaker, Dr. Kenneth Friedman, and Dr. Alan Gurwitt, president of MassCFIDS, shared the presentation and spoke about these topics with insight, conviction and optimism.

Dr. Friedman, a recently retired Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, is a fervent and outspoken advocate for CFS, a working member of the IACFS/ME, scientific advisor to several ME/CFS patient groups, and a longstanding friend of Mass CFIDS.

Dr. Friedman briefly described how he became involved with CFS and the Association many years ago. While his daughter was attending Tufts University, during the early 1990s, she came down with infectious mononucleosis and eventually went on to develop CFS. He spoke appreciatively about the information and support that he and his daughter received from the Association during that difficult time.

Dr. Friedman singled out developments and studies from the Ottawa conference which he considered to be important to ME/CFS patients, not only from a research standpoint, but also their impact on patient care. The key points in Dr. Friedman's lecture (taken from the slides that he had prepared for this forum) are as follows:

  • Is it time to get beyond ME/CFS case definitions?
  • Should we use exercise testing in lieu of a biomarker?
  • Investigating the efficacy of anti-viral and antibiotic therapy
  • Stepping up to the plate by the Private Sector

Notice about names

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently using ME/CFS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are calling the illness CFS.

Until there is consensus on a name for the illness, the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association name will not change.