A friend clipped and mailed to me a health advice column that appeared recently in an Akron, Ohio, newspaper. I assume that the friend was trying to tell me that what I need is more exercise. TO YOUR HEALTH Try Exercise Program for Chronic Fatigue Dear Dr. Donohue: Will you write about chronic fatigue syndrome? I have been diagnosed with it after years of a worsening mystery illness and many doctor appointments and with several misdiagnoses. I am now under the care of a doctor who is a leading clinician in the field. I was stunned to learn the seriousness of the illness, including brain and nervous system inflammation, cognitive difficulties, streaks of muscle pain, nausea, and grinding exhaustion. I was shocked to learn that I am 100 percent disabled. My goal is to pass to others information about this illness. It might help them. --B. D. Dear B. D: Chronic fatigue syndrome is an illness that is difficult to have and difficult to treat because it is one of those illnesses whose cause remains unknown. By definition, it is fatigue that lasts more than six months. The fatigue does not improve with rest. In addition to exhaustion, memory impairment, joint pain, diffuse muscle pain, new headaches, tender neck nodes, sore throat, and sleep that doesn't refresh can be part of the syndrome. It sounds ridiculous to suggest exercise for people with chronic fatigue. However, a graded exercise program often can improve many symptoms. Exercise should be both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is exercise that continuous movement of large muscles, like leg muscles, for a somewhat prolonged period of time. Initially, the time is short, whatever the person is able to do. Five minutes is enough; if that is too much, take it down a couple of minutes. Walking is aerobic exercise. The goal is to slowly but persistently increase both the exercise time and intensity. Anaerobic exercise is weightlifting. Don't start with heavy weights; three pounds is enough. Again, the goal is to increase the time spent lifting and the amount lifted. I'm sure your doctor ran through a battery of tests to exclude illnesses that rob a person of energy: low thyroid hormone output, sleep apnea, anemia, and adrenal glads that are not functioning. --END [bolding mine M.] This column would have appeared across the US, not just in an Akron, Ohio, newspaper. Yesterday I wrote to Dr. Donohue urging him to do some research on exercise intolerance in ME/CFS. I directed him to the Pacific Fatigue Lab and enclosed an abstract of research done at the lab, Postexertional Malaise in Women with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. If anyone else cares to write to Dr. Donohue, his address is PO Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, USA. No email is provided at his column. Information about Dr. Paul Donohue is available at the syndication company, King Features, and contact information for the syndication company is at the website: http://kingfeatures.com/features/columns-a-z/to-your-good-health/ I also wrote to my friend thanking him for alerting me to this column and in this way helping me advocate for better media coverage about ME/CFS.