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In 1984-85, people at Lake Tahoe fell ill with flu symptoms, but they didn't get better. Medical literature documents similar outbreaks: in 1934 at LA county hospital, in 1948-49 in Iceland, in 1956 in Punta Gorda, Florida. The malady now has a name, chronic fatigue syndrome, and filmmaker Kim Snyder, who suffered from the disease for several years, tells her story and talks to victims and their families, and to physicians and researchers: is it viral, it is psychosomatic, is it one disease or several (a syndrome) ; what's the CDC doing about it; what's it like to have a disease that's not yet understood? Her inquiry takes her to Punta Gorda and to a high-school graduation. Written by
I watched this hoping the film would inform me about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. By "inform" I mean provide some of the details of the biological background of the syndrome, introduce me to some of the people who suffer from it and give some idea of how this syndrome will be treated in the future.
I felt like what I got was 90% loosey-goosey soft science. I'm not denying that everyone in this documentary is suffering, but I still don't know from what.
One quote from the movie I found damning was as voice-over stating that many children who suffer from this syndrome have been home-bound for 6 to 7 years. The next scene features a high-school-aged young man who had been home-bound for 6 months. Being ill for six months is very sad. But if this illness causes any child to be ill for 6 to 7 years, his/her story was not told in this film.
After watching this documentary, I am more inclined to think that what is currently labeled "CFS" could be a combination of any of the following: viruses, unknown physical illnesses or mental illness. I'm deeply sorry for all of those who suffer from this syndrome; but I don't think this documentary clarifies what is, for many, a murky topic.
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