Journal of IiME Volume 2 Issue 1 www.investinme.org The 3rd IiME International ME/CFS Conference Dedicated to Dr John Richardson As IiME launch our third annual conference and include a significant part devoted to enteroviral research so we would like to dedicate the conference to a man who devoted a great deal of his life to treating people with ME. The international reputation that John Richardson acquired in the field of myalgic encephalitis (ME) research sprang from the records that he kept for 40 years of enteroviral infections, mostly coxsackie virus. He realised that enteroviral infections were endemic among his practice population on the south bank of the Tyne, spreading from one family to another and from one generation to the next. The public health authorities seemed to be unaware of it and facilities for identification were rarely available locally. The clinical features of these infections varied from Bornholm disease—a common short illness with chest pain—to audible pericarditis, serious myocarditis, and valvulitis with dysfunction. Other features were muscle pain, jitter and weakness, sleep disturbance, hypersensitivity to sound and light, and mild confusion. Many organs in the body could also be affected. In the long term the effects were sometimes serious. While some members of a family would escape with a brief febrile illness only, coxsackie infection could leave one person struggling for years with ME or dilated cardiomyopathy. Worse still, John found that the infection would readily pass from the mother to her unborn child, which would be delivered with fibroelastosis or maldevelopment of the heart, or structural defects of the brain or other organs. He tried to prevent this in early pregnancy by giving the mother intramuscular injections of human immunoglobulin. Early on John believed that ME was an illness that could follow directly from a coxsackie infection and one that was capable of altering the whole personality and abilities of someone he had known for years. The idea that it was just depression or hysteria, a psychoneurosis or "all in the mind," he found not only ludicrous and cruel, but also Invest in ME (Charity Nr 1114035) “This Dr. John Richardson of Newcastle, and others have documented significant associated cardiac and cardiovascular injury as well as other organ injuries associated with the usual CNS and autonomic changes in this group of patients." "[Richardson] has followed ME patients...for three to four generations. I am aware of no other physician in the world with such a historic view of ME patients. He has repeatedly demonstrated that many ME patients go on to develop structural heart injury. Richardson has identified more than several hundred cardiopathies in his ME practice." -Dr. Byron Hyde(source http://www.nameus.org/ResearchPages/ResCirculatory.htm) dangerous, and his records contain several examples of suicide. When patients told him that they had grown tired after taking vigorous or progressively "graded" exercise and found that they had to pay for it by being much worse for the next day or so, he believed them and sought other methods of treatment. The fame of his records led James Mowbray, professor of immunopathology at St Mary's Hospital, London, to offer him unrestricted facilities for identification of the various strains of the coxsackie group of viruses, as well as other viruses less frequently encountered. Leonard Archard, professor of biochemistry at Imperial College, London, was also helpful in culturing virus in samples of tissue sent to him and both became personal friends. John did not publish these records in the form of his book Enteroviral and Toxin Mediated Myalgic Encephalitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Other Organ Pathologies (Haworth Medical Press) until 2001. (Continued on page7) Page 6

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