Eight web seminars by Prof Leonard Jason, Director of the Center for Community Research at DePaul University, Chicago are now available to view, hosted by the active Dutch organisation ME info – formerly ME/CVS Vereniging. These talks are produced under the auspices of ‘Science to Patients’, which is a Dutch government subsidized project, in which the gap between medical science and patients is bridged by inviting scientists to deliver short webinars on topics of concern to patients.
In the first, ‘Introduction; Experience with ME’, Prof Jason introduces his own research journey into the field, which has culminated in a range of key studies. As he says, “one of the important things that we learned was that not less than a million people had this illness, rather than the 20,000 which were estimated. So it wasn’t really a rare disorder….”. (Read the transcript Prof. Jason. Introduction; Experience with ME).
In the second, ‘Criteria and diagnosis; Part 1’, he talks about the definitional and diagnostic issues surrounding ME/CFS; why the name CFS trivialises this illness; and some of his efforts to throw light on these matters. As he says, “The British started calling this illness ME many years ago and there’s been a regression back to CFS in 1988 through the CDC in the USA. I think there’s been a movement to change that, and actually some people are calling it ME/CFS as a transition term…” (Read the transcript Prof. Jason. Criteria and diagnosis; Part 1).
In the third, ‘Criteria and diagnosis; Part 2‘ he discusses the reasons for the stigma surrounding ME/CFS, practical problems with the diagnosis, and his use of the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire (see ‘Further Reading’ below) which “gives us the ability to…focus on people in terms of how many symptoms they might have for the critical case definitions”. Read the transcript Prof. Jason. Criteria and diagnosis; Part 2).
In the fourth, ME versus psychiatric disorders, Prof Jason discusses the differences between ME and major depressive disorders; the importance of the capture of quality data; the psychological disorders that might be confused with ME, and the need for them to be excluded at diagnosis; the role of depression in all chronic illnesses; the importance of good social support; and the need for ME to be compared with equivalent illness groups, such as MS. There is no transcript for this 9-minute video.
In the fifth, ‘Treating and managing ME‘, Prof Jason discusses the role of psychological interventions in ME, the advantages and disadvantages of CBT and GET, and the roles of pacing and ‘enveloping’. Read the transcript Prof. Jason. Treating and managing ME.
In the sixth, ‘Symptoms of ME and treatments‘, Prof Jason discusses symptoms and treatment, and deals with the role of circulation and the nervous system in ME; the measurement of post-exertional malaise; and infections in the illness. Read the transcript Prof. Jason. Symptoms and treatments.
In the seventh, ‘The population and social impact of ME‘, Prof Jason discusses risk factors for ME (gender, occupation etc), recovery rates, functional impairments, and the costs of ME to the individual and society. Read the transcript Prof. Jason. Population and social impact.
In the eighth, ‘Teaching students about ME, and the future of the field‘, Prof Jason discusses the problems associated with getting information about ME over to medical students, the research he is doing, and research he would like to see in the future. Read the transcript Prof. Jason. Teaching students about ME, and the future of the field.
ME/CVS Vereniging has also hosted several question and answer sessions with Prof Jason. The next is on Friday 21 November from 6-6:45 pm Amsterdam time.
Prof Jason’s home page at De Paul University, Chicago
DePaul Symptom Questionnaire (the full 99-item questionnaire)
Evaluating the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire in the ME Research UK cohort. An ME Research UK-funded study.
Vision-related symptoms as a clinical feature of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis? Evidence from the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire. An ME Research UK-funded study.
A rational basis for diagnosis? Our short essay on Prof Jason’s 2014 study in the International Journal of Machine Learning and Computing’.
£1 million of biomedical research. A special 32-page edition of our Breakthrough magazine reviewing ME Research UK’s projects.