Living with ME/CFS –– one of the most devastating, disabling chronic diseases known to man –– is not easy, but patients like you and I can live happy, rich, vastly rewarding lives if we live with hope and the self-discipline to take good care of ourselves. To do to this, we need to empower ourselves with actionable information that we can use to help us to feel our best. And it’s also critically important to acknowledge with every fiber of our being the truth of our situation, that “this too shall pass.” We will get well; it’s just a matter of time.
Breathtaking technological advances are furthering our understanding of medicine and the underlying processes involved in ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome) — and it’s happening at an ever-quickening pace. Exponential improvements in technology will soon make effective ME/CFS treatments and a cure only a matter of time.
Why I Believe a Cure for ME/CFS Will Be Found
My faith in finding a cure for ME/CFS is bolstered by the simple fact that progress in technology is exponential, not linear. According to Moore’s Law, technology is doubling in its abilities about every 18 to 24 months. This law has held true since it was postulated by Intel co-founder, Gordon Moore in 1965.
As Ray Kurzweil, the brilliant inventor and futurist, says in his illustration differentiating exponential from linear progress, 30 steps taken linearly puts you 30 steps ahead, while 30 steps taken exponentially puts you one billion steps ahead. I’m counting on the law of exponentiality to yield a cure before we know it. Remember how long the human genome project was supposed to last? Need I say more?
Want an example of something that is the result of exponential technological progress? Take a look at your smart phone. While we may take its many amazing features for granted, its abilities were unthinkable only 10 years ago. That’s the power of exponential progress.
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Exponential progress is happening in medicine, too. In the last decade, there has been significantly more ME/CFS research than ever before. A search in PubMed for “chronic fatigue syndrome” studies for 1988 (the year I founded ProHealth) brought up 43 studies –– and a few of those were actually fibromyalgia studies that happened to mention chronic fatigue. Most years prior to that saw only one or two ME/CFS studies each year. By contrast, in 2019, there were 380 ME/CFS studies recorded.
Not only has the annual number of studies increased, but so has the quality of the research. Thanks to rapidly advancing technology, last year scientists were finally able to identify a biomarker for ME/CFS, and research to confirm a diagnostic blood test is moving forward.
That’s why I firmly believe that exponential technological progress is going to help ME/CFS patients like us get well before we know it. I’ll bet on it.
This article, originally published on July 27, 2015, was updated on January 21, 2020.
ProHealth founder and CEO, Rich Carson, was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1981. He began ProHealth in 1988 as a way to give other patients access to the supplements that proved most beneficial to him and others with ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.
A national leader in the fight against ME/CFS, Rich has been one of the top fundraisers in the United States for research against the disease since 1986, and was chosen to represent the Center for Disease Control in their $4 million Chronic Fatigue Syndrome awareness campaign. In 1997, Rich conceived and launched the Campaign for a Fair Name, which succeeded in changing the common name of the disease from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to the name that patients prefer, ME/CFS.