I’ll start with the Committee’s many thanks to John Bell for all his work and his interesting, informative and entertaining blogs on our behalf. He has needed to step down, so Eileen and Annie will take over the Blog and bring their extra flavour to it along with our usual Facebook page news and article links from the past month. We are always pleased to have contributions from members, as from Steve this month, and for any feedback about the content of the Blog.
Wishing you all an uplifting month with the onset of Spring. Take care and stay safe Paul
Springtime in Langholm – photos by Eileen
The revised NICE guidelines for ME/CFS were expected to be published in April, however this is the latest from NICE to the Invest in ME Research Group:
“Dear Stakeholder, Because of the large number of comments received during consultation on the ME/CFS guideline, and the additional work needed to respond to them fully, the publication date has changed. The guideline will now publish on 18th August 2021.”
There is or are anonymous stone and slate painters brightening up the streets and doorsteps of Langholm. Colloquially known as the Langholm Banksy, residents can ask on the Langholm Facebook page to be ‘stoned’ or ‘slated’ and usually within a day or two a wee artwork is found on their doorstep or street. It doesn’t half brighten the town up, and has been a talking point for most of 2021.
Everybody has heard of it and not even the biopsychosocial brigade are denying its existence [but they are now trying to cash in on it]. It’s also generally accepted that as Covid-19 is a virus, then Long Covid is a post-viral illness. What strikes me as remarkable is the number of people who think this is a new phenomenon. Since Spanish Flu [a particularly deadly viral pandemic], there has been [not in any form of chronological order] Poliomyelitis, SARS, MERS, Ebola, West Nile virus, Parvovirus, Ross River virus, Denge virus and most of us afflicted with ME will be aware that among the suspected culprits for causing this awful illness are EBV, Coxsackie B and Glandular Fever [infectious mononucleosis].
Where the jury still seems to be out is whether some cases of Long Covid will morph into ME [or CFS, or whatever label is currently in fashion], although the media seems way ahead of the majority of the medical profession in assuming that this indeed will happen. Like the ME Association, I share that sense of inevitability and the reason is quite simple; all the viruses named above have left in their wake a proportion of survivors who never fully recovered. With Long Covid, it appears that people who only had mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all, are just as likely to be amongst those afflicted. Some with Long Covid have all or most of the symptoms of ME – others don’t. I go by the old adage “If it looks like a fish, swims like a fish and smells like a fish, then you can be pretty certain it’s a fish”. I recall commenting on a group post not long after the start of the pandemic last year that in the long term, the cost to a country’s economy of those who remained ill after the initial stage of the virus had passed would be much greater than the pandemic itself. I read a somewhat stark analysis [from memory, it was from a USA economist] a few weeks back that stated the loss of so many older people would lighten the burden those generations load onto health services and perhaps create a few job opportunities for healthy younger people, but that the younger people who did not recover from the virus would be a burden on government finances for decades. There have been various attempts to quantify this ‘burden’, but I’ll just quote one of them, from Anthony L Komaroff and Lucinda Bateman*. They estimate that of those people unlucky enough to be struck down with Long Covid, 10% will go on to develop ME/CFS, which will double the number of sufferers in the USA in just one year and create 10 million new cases of ME/CFS globally. Sobering statistics that cannot be ignored or brushed under the carpet.
*www.frontiersin.org “Will Covid-19 lead to ME/CFS ?“ 18 Jan 2021
Local Group News
While there have still been problems in some areas for Group 6 access to the vaccine, many of us have now had the Covid jag and with varying reactions. Facebook members have been posting about how they felt after the jab – whether it made symptoms worse or not, and if so for how long. We may conduct a poll about this on our Facebook page when more members have had the vaccine. See article links below for the MEA monthly poll on this.
Here is the link to the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CPD module, written by Dr Nina Muirhead, which some members studied at our Zoom meeting earlier in March. The module also touches on long-covid and fibromyalgia. We will be promoting the module to doctors and health care workers across the region.
- Cross stitch workshop with Eileen, Monday 12th April, 11.30 am
Pop up Box Card making with Anne. This is a different Tutor than previously mentioned. Monday 26th April, 1pm.
Glass Painting with Dawn, May 12th, 1pm
Crocheted Granny Squares with Corrie, May 21st, 11 am
Click on the headings to download or print the recipes.
Wild Garlic pesto.
A good bunch of wild garlic.
Nuts of your choice, I used almonds, but usually the recipe is pine nuts. They can be a bit expensive so I use the nuts that I like.
Seasoning, salt, pepper, chilli, optional.
Wash the wild garlic well and dry off with a tea towel. Place in a blender or food processor and blitz for a minute or so.
I like a nutty pesto, so I put in a couple of handfuls of nuts. Blitz again. This will chop the nuts but also help break up the garlic leaves.
Then add about 2oz of parmesan. I grate it first as it’s a very hard cheese and can cause the food processor to have issues, unless your blade is really sharp.
Then taste the mixture.
If you think you need more of anything, add it, more garlic you can use cloves of garlic to ramp up the flavour. Add seasoning as you fancy, whatever is your taste. Then add a bit of oil at a time to get the consistency that you like. I prefer a thicker pest, so don’t add much oil.
Then coat your cooked pasta with a good dollop, and serve with pantries Portobello mushroom and kale crisps.
The rest of the pesto can be put in a jar and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Mine never lasts that long!
Wild Garlic is just coming up now, so it’s the time to gather it. A rule of thumb is stop gathering once the flowers are opened as the leaves can be bitter then. However the unopened flowers are lovely in a salad, a bit like chive flowers. I’m a great forager. Anything free and natural gets my vote.
- 1 can of black eyed beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 med onion finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 cloves garlic (grated or minced)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- pinch of chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp boullion powder (or salt and pepper to taste)
Blitz together in the food processor. Roll into little patties (I got about 14 little patties (about 1-1.5inches diam)
Fry them off.
I’m going to put them with a tomato sauce and have them with pasta. They’ll be great with salad in a pitta too.
Enjoy ☺️ Eileen
The links below were posted during March by members of our Facebook page. You can read members’ comments about them there. Most of the titles are self explanatory, but if not just click on them to find out more.