For what appears to be the first time, a coroner recorded CFS as the official cause of death of a 32-year-old woman, at Brighton and Hove Coroner’s Court on 13 June 2006. The inquest rigorously considered all other potential causes of death consistent with the post-mortem results, such as sleep apnoea and drug use, but rejected each one.
A neuropathologist who gave evidence at the inquest said that Sophia Mirza's spinal cord showed inflammation caused by dorsal root ganglionitis - a clear physical manifestation of the disease. A second specialist said that inflammation of neurological tissue is known to be associated with CFS and may be the result of the over-activated immune system that tends to be seen in this disease. The cause of death was recorded as renal failure due to dehydration as a result of CFS.
This verdict represents a further step forward in the recognition of CFS/ME as a biologically-based illness, a process which has been and still is constantly hampered by the very powerful psychiatric lobby, that seems intent on ascribing CFS to psychological causes. (Indeed, Sophia Mirza, herself, had been 'sectioned' under the Mental Health Act for two weeks in 2003.)
Hopefully, this case will add weight to calls for much more biomedical research to be carried out into the disease.
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First Published in September 2005
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