- November 22, 2013at 11:59 pm
Jennifer, a Harvard PhD student, was signing a check at a restaurant when she found she could not write her own name. Months before her wedding, she became progressively more ill, losing the ability even to sit in a wheelchair. Doctors insisted that her condition was psychosomatic rather than real.
As she dug deeper, she found she had become a part of a hidden world of millions suffering from an illness for which there is evidence dating back to at least the 1930s. The disease, myalgic encephalomyelitis, was re-branded in the 1980s by the CDC as 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,' a name which became both a punchline and a Rorschach: a wastebasket of undiagnosed conditions hiding a very real disease. Scientists at the country's top institutions have found evidence of profound metabolic, neurological, and immunological dysfunction in patients with M.E.. However, since the disease is not taught in medical schools, doctors don't know how to recognize it, denying healthcare to millions.