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ME: The rise and fall of a media sensation - Patricia de Wolfe

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS news' started by Sly Saint, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)


    ME (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome), a medical disorder of unknown aetiology, generated considerable media attention in the late 1980s and during the 1990s.

    Patients insisted they suffered from an organic disease, while certain lay and medical commentators construed the condition variously as an effect of female hysteria; as a form of depression manifesting itself in physical form; and most famously, as 'yuppie flu', an affliction of stressed young professionals.

    This article documents the origins of the controversy, explores the principal constructions of ME that arose amongst commentators and the assumptions that underlay them, and traces the differing fate of the diverse constructions in subsequent years."

    rest of article here: http://www.medicalsociologyonline.org/oldsite/archives/issue41/pdwolfe.html

    interesting read
    Forbin, Barry, MEMarge and 5 others like this.
  2. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

    There doesn't seem to be a date on this article, but the latest reference it makes is from 2009 and it doesn't discuss any events or research since then. Perhaps of historical interest.
    Barry, MEMarge, Joh and 1 other person like this.
  3. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

    Barry, TiredSam and MEMarge like this.
  4. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    If I recall correctly she is a patient (I think connected with one of the London ME groups) and she did a (sociology?) PhD on the issue.
    Barry likes this.
  5. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I don't know how generally accepted this is, but the paper appears to argue that ME emerged into the UK's modern media consciousness in June, 1986.
    I mention this because you could argue that ME entered the US' modern media consciousness just five days later on 6 June, 1986, when the Los Angeles Times published its first story on the outbreak at Lake Tahoe.

    I doubt either article influenced the other, however. In the LA Times article, the terms ME and/or myalgic encephalomyelits are never used. Instead, the outbreak was described as a "medical mystery" with a possible link to the Epstein Barr virus.

    I can't find the Observer article on the internet, but Patricia de Wolfe's paper (see above) never mentions the Epstein Barr virus, and I really doubt that the 1986 Observer article would have mentioned it either.

    That these two seminal articles should have appeared just 5 days (and a quarter of a world) apart from each other just simply seems to be some kind of eerie coincidence.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
    Barry and BurnA like this.

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