So eating a daily dose of dark chocolate will cure ME/CFS sufferers?
Well, it does if you believe some of the coverage of the incredibly limited research carried out at Hull York Medical School.
The research team found that patients in a pilot study had less fatigue when eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content than with white chocolate dyed brown. Describing the results as “surprising”, the team said dark chocolate may be having an effect on the brain chemical serotonin.
I’m not exactly surprised or even cheered by the research.
I’m with Heather Walker, of Action for ME, who has responded to the research by saying: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if eating chocolate every day could alleviate the symptoms of chronic illness?
“If it were that easy, there would not be 250,000 people in the UK today whose lives are being been devastated by ME.”
Along with other groups, such as The ME Association, Action for ME has been calling for properly funded and significant research into this debilitating condition for years.
ME/CFS impacts on a sizable section of the population, yet is very much the poor relation in terms of research, understanding and treatment when compared with some more “media-friendly” conditions.
I do have a vested interest. My wife is a CFS sufferer and we’re both incredibly frustrated by the lack of detailed and serious research into this condition.
Stories like this one about dark chocolate do not help. This research may have secured some national headlines for the research team, but it hardly adds anything to the (albeit very limited) debate surrounding ME/CFS.
The research merely suggests a way in which sufferers might ease some of the chronic pain they have to cope with on a daily basis.
Where is the research into what actually causes this chronic pain?
Without understanding what causes so many people to suffer from this condition, there is no hope of any worthwhile treatment.
My wife and the 250,000 others in this country, along with the millions of sufferers worldwide, deserve a hell of a lot more.