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What piqued Dr. Hyde’s interest in ME?

In August 1984, after an epidemic outbreak in Canada, Dr. Hyde traveled to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Georgia, with the intention of learning what he could. The CDC knew nothing of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) but referred him to a Dr. Charles Poser (1923-2010) from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Dr. Poser was one of the world’s leading physicians in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It was Dr. Poser who piqued Dr. Hyde’s interest in learning about ME. Dr. Poser had developed the criteria for Multiple Sclerosis, proving that MS was due to Central Nervous System (CNS) neuron injury.

Many patients were referred to Dr. Poser for a traditional MS work-up. In doing the early Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) on ME patients, Dr. Poser did not see brain lesions commonly found in MS, but what he did find in common with both illnesses was oligoclonal banding.

Dr. Hyde stated that if sudden onset patients had both a blood test and cerebrospinal fluid checked at the same time for this oligoclonal banding, and the banding is positive, then they either had MS or ME. What is important about this finding is that oligoclonal banding occurs when there is neuron breakdown—nerve cells in the brain being injured on an ongoing, chronic basis.

Dr. Poser sent Dr. Hyde to England to study ME with Dr. John Richardson, a country GP from Newcastle, UK. There, Dr. Hyde ended up staying a month and absorbed all he could. Dr. Richardson had ME himself, and followed over 4 generations of patients demonstrating genetic and physical factors governing the illness of ME patients. Dr. Richardson worked until the time of his death at age 80. Upon Dr. Hyde’s return to Canada, Dr. Poser started sending ME patients to Dr. Hyde.