ME/CFS Primer/Education Bulletins Letter from the President
IACFS/ME Bulletin


Letter from the President

I have two things to pass on to the membership. First, the IACFS/ME Conference is coming faster than you think. We have extended the deadline for abstracts until November 2nd, at the request of a number of research groups. The number and quality of abstracts already received is very good, promising an outstanding meeting. I encourage all of you to promote the meeting to your colleagues in related areas, and if you want to hear something in particular, ask that person to put in an abstract. The associated patients’ meeting will draw from this international faculty and will take place immediately before our conference. I am hoping to see representatives from patient groups worldwide at both meetings. We have also applied for funds to have a webinar on the conference highlights the day following the meeting. This would be aimed at professionals, but open to patients as well also aimed at our international base. We have also applied for scholarship funding to help bring some patients and also young investigators to the meetings. Keep your fingers crossed that these funding efforts will be successful.  

While on the subject of the meeting, you will see that the hotel has three different prices for rooms. It is a casino hotel with three towers, and the new one, the Tuscany, is well worth the modest increase in price. The rooms are all brand new, suites, and have an easy access directly to our conference area. So for those of you worried about the casino venue (which cuts your cost to attend by more than half), pick the Tuscany tower. The Whittemore Peterson Institute is hosting the event, and we are celebrating with them the establishment of the first U.S. academic institute dedicated to research and treatment of CFS and related illnesses.

In the second part of this letter, I would like to congratulate the Japanese Fatigue Society for their successful International Conference on Fatigue Science 2008. This was the third meeting, cosponsored by the IACFS/ME and the CFIDS Association of America, and took place in Okinawa earlier in September. Your board was well represented, with keynote talks given by Professors Jason, Evengard, Kurutsame, and Klimas. The Japanese Fatigue Society filled the conference facility with clinical, industrial, sports and basic scientists as well as sociologists, educators and policy makers. Professor Watanabe presented a keynote address summarizing a staggering amount of work in progress by nearly 200 Japanese investigators and their graduate students. Taking a broad approach, studies of CFS pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment are complemented by studies aimed at prevention, cultural influences on risk and food and nutritional strategies to reduce both physical and mental fatigue. Professors Watanabe and Kurutsame have graciously agreed to put together a session updating conference attendees on this progress at our Reno meeting, which demonstrates the success of an integrative approach.  

There were many pearls to bring home to our colleagues and patients. One of the more provocative presentations was by Floris de Lange with a study showing that a CBT intervention increased grey matter volume in the lateral prefrontal cortex, which correlated with increased cognitive speed. This should raise hope in patients and doctors alike, and have implications that extend beyond our field. The thought that the plasticity of the brain would allow enough rewiring to be measured by sheer volume measures… well, I take that as a very good sign.   

Always one to end on a high note, I wish you all the best this fall, and hope to see you next spring in Reno!  

—Nancy G. Klimas, M.D.
President, International Association for CFS/ME (IACFS/ME)

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