Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Urgent Call to Action! Support Congressional Call for Increased ME/CFS Research!

By Mass CFIDS/ME and FM Association

You can help if you ACT NOW !!

A letter in support of ME/CFS research to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, sponsored by two Representatives from California, is now circulating in Congress (House of Representatives) and we need as many U.S. Representatives as we can to be co-signers. Please CALL and send a FOLLOW-UP EMAIL to your U.S. Representative (not your Senators) and urge him or her to sign this letter. Complete instructions, including a phone and email script which you can personalize, can be found here. The number of calls to each Congressional office to make this request really matters. Your Representative may not be inclined to act as a result of one or two calls, but 10 calls will make a strong statement. Please call right away. The deadline for your Representative to sign the letter is this coming Wednesday, August 31.

This action is the result of months of hard work by #MEAction, Solve CFS/ME Initiative, and the U.S. Action Working Group Congressional Committee.

GET and CBT have been downgraded as treatments for ME/CFS as a result of follow up work by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

In the initial Evidence Review prepared by AHRQ as input to the Pathways to Prevention (P2P) report commissioned by NIH, studies evaluating the effectiveness of Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which used subjects meeting only the Oxford case definition (6 months of fatigue). Based on the initial inclusion of studies using the Oxford definition, notably the PACE trials, the Evidence Review suggested that GET and CBT were "moderately effective" treatments. The P2P report recommended that the Oxford definition no longer be used, and the PACE research has come under increasing criticism for its methodology.

As a result of advocates requests, AHRQ re-analyzed the evidence for GET and CBT, without including any studies based on the Oxford definition (e.g. PACE). The conclusion was that there was no evidence to suggest that GET or CBT were effective treatments for ME/CFS. Read more here

This outcome is the direct result of repeated requests to AHRQ by advocates. Advocates' next step is to make sure that this change is strongly noted in future medical education materials, particularly the websites commonly used by doctors, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mayo Clinic and Up To Date.

You can find your congressional representative HERE.

Email Template:

Dear ___________ (name of representative goes here)

I’m emailing with an urgent request regarding the disabling neuro-immune disease Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME/CFS.
Representatives Lofgren and Eshoo of California are sponsoring a letter to NIH Director Francis Collins in support of ME/CFS patients and research. ME/CFS costs the U.S. economy $17-24 billion annually; leaves its patients with lower quality of life scores than lung cancer, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis; and has no known FDA-approved treatment or cure. Would you please support me and the 1 to 2.5  million Americans suffering from this disabling disease, by signing this letter? It would mean the world to me, my family, and other ME/CFS patients in our district to have your support.

Please contact Angela Ebiner, Legislative Assistant for Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) at Angela.Ebiner@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-3072 to coordinate your participation. The letter’s deadline is 8/31.

Thank you so very much for your support on this critical action. I look forward to your reply on this request at your earliest convenience.

Warmest Regards,
[Your Name]
[Your Contact Info, Including address and +4 zip]
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