A NEW book has been published that shares the story of how a Southampton connection is helping to power future research into M.E.

The story of the meeting of minds that linked a university junior manager 30 years ago to a university don who went on to become one of Britain’s most eminent science researchers is told in a book recently published by the Hampshire-based ME/CFS Alliance Think Tank.

To mark ME Awareness Month in May, former Southampton University training manager, Opal Webster-Philp – whose career was wiped out by M.E. in 1991 – and co-author Nicola McDonald tell how Opal’s meeting with a scientist called Stephen Holgate led eventually to the setting up of a collaborative in 2012.

Almost 10 years later, this collaborative is now actively working to research Myalgic Encephalomyeltis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, known as M.E.

The hard plod behind the successes is detailed in the Think Tank’s new book titled “The History of ME/CFS, the Evolution and the Role of the CMRC (A Patient’s Perspective)”.

Opal Webster-Philp had to see up to 15 specialists before getting to grips with her M.E. and then persuading Professor Holgate to chair a conference on M.E. in 2008.

The main take-away from the conference was agreement that dialogue not confrontation about the controversial illness should be the touchstone for all future action.

Now, nine years on, the Research Collaborative, which stages an annual conference, is attracting new scientists and researchers into the study of M.E.

Their work has led to the world’s biggest genetic study into the illness, the £3.2million Decode-ME study, being launched in the UK later this year with well over 20,000 patients having volunteered to take part in it so far.

“The approach has cleared out a lot of old, dysfunctional thinking about M.E. It’s opening up to the possibility that we might find good, effective treatments within the very near future.”, said Webster-Philp.

Printed copies as well as a downloadable version of the book are available for a donation ay mecfsalliance.org.uk.