Open letter to Professor Esther Crawley about online treatment for children and young people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME)

Dear Professor Crawley,

I applaud the work you are doing to relieve the suffering of this group of children and young people. I wish you success. I write to suggest you might extend the scope of your work to take into account sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation that can produce symptoms similar to those of CFS/ME. The majority of children and young people in your study will be swamped by this radiation at home and at school – as are most children and young people in the UK.

The Women’s Hospital in Toronto has written:

Cell phones, cell phone towers, wireless internet routers, cordless phones and power lines of all sorts have all been recognized as possible contributors to an environmental health condition called electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EMS) caused by significant exposure from radio waves.  

EMS symptoms include poor sleep, fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, memory impairment and skin rashes. Patients' reactions vary, some requiring life-altering changes to minimize exposures as much as possible.

Bristol University tells us:

There are different definitions but patients with CFS/ME have disabling fatigue and other symptoms. In children common symptoms in addition to fatigue, are unrefreshing sleep, problems with concentration, muscle aches and pains, headaches, nausea, dizziness, sore throats and so on.

We do not have to stretch our imaginations very far to see an overlap here. If some of the children and young people in your study are sufferers of EMS, the implications, in my view, are:

1. A first precautionary approach would be to allow the children and young people in your study a break from exposure to electromagnetic radiation to see how it affects their symptoms.

2. The children and young people should be carefully diagnosed to make sure you are treating the illness or illnesses they have. If you treat for CFS/ME while they are in fact sufferers of EMS, they will not benefit.

3. If some of the children and young people suffer combined CFS/ME and EMS, you need to establish the fact and treat accordingly.

4. Online treatment for CFS/ME, with the extra exposure to electromagnetic radiation it will probably bring, might exacerbate any EMS symptoms or even create new sensitivity. This works against the principle ‘First do no harm’.

There is an abundance of independent international research to support you in learning about EMS. I will help you in this if you need.

I applaud your good work and I wish you well.

Peter Limbrick, Interconnections

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