Isn't it amazing? Hundreds of years ago they considered people with MS to be "possessed". They also called it the "Viking curse", given the higher propensity in people of nordic descent.
Then, in the age of psychobable they were immediately judged as insane, psychosomatic, "it's all in their heads," "they are making it up" (sounds familiar?). Even though early studies in the field of neurology (as early as the mid-1800s) clearly pointed to MS as a distinct neurological disease, many MS patients ended up in psychiatric wards to die in horrible isolation, pain and despair.
Then in recent decades, still without a clear cause in sight, the genetic auto-immune theory was adopted.
Now, with the new advances in research, it's confirmed that there's a pathogen toxin at the core of the MS puzzle (with a likely genetic susceptibility).
Although the article is about MS and not ME, for some time I've wondered if the "sporadic" and "epidemic" outbreaks of ME/"CFS" might be caused by contaminated food sources. Such a vector would explain how you could get "epidemic" outbreaks of a disease which does not seem to be easily transmissible between humans.
It might explain why a number of the historical outbreaks have tended to occur in institutional settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, convents, military bases, nurses' quarters, schools and in small "isolated" communities from which numerous people would be consuming food from the same source (from institutional cafeterias, for example).
Perhaps this also ties in with evidence that points to the involvement of the gut in ME/"CFS." Enteroviruses, such as Polio, are passed through the fecal-oral route, for example.