Chronic fatigue syndrome is often debilitating disease

I would like to point out what I believe to be some errors in the Associated Press story "Two new studies cast doubt on virus-chronic fatigue link." Other than in the opening sentence, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is repeatedly referred to as chronic fatigue. This is sloppy reporting and contributes to common misperceptions about CFS.

While chronic fatigue is a symptom of many medical conditions including multiple sclerosis, AIDS and the flu, CFS is an often debilitating disease marked by exhaustion unrelieved by rest. Patients suffer from widespread pain in muscles and joints, swollen lymph nodes, sore throats, headaches, difficulties with memory and concentration, and sleep dysfunction. Everyday activities such as cooking dinner, running errands or even just showering can lead to worsening fatigue and flu-like symptoms called post-exertional malaise that can last for days.

I also believe that Dr. Jay Levy was misquoted in saying that he doesn't believe CFS patients should take anti-viral drugs. I believe Levy actually referred to anti-retroviral drugs. That may seem to be nit-picky, but it is an important distinction. While there may not yet be sufficient evidence that a retrovirus is the cause of CFS, there is ample research that shows that CFS patients have dysfunctional immune systems and that some have chronic infections to relatively common viruses. There are several physicians, including Dr. Jose Montoya at Stanford, who treat these patients with anti-virals.

Sharlotte Childers



Citizens should salute the U.S. flag as it passes

I recently attended a Memorial Day parade and was surprised at the number of folks who did not salute the flag as it went by them. Perhaps it is a matter that they just do not know what to do. So to prepare for Flag Day, which is June 14, here is what you need to do to properly respect the flag.

To salute, about 50 feet before the flag passes, all people come to attention (stand up if you are able). Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over their heart and men with a head cover should remove it and hold it to their left shoulder, hand over their heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge. Follow the flag with your attention as it passes and wait for it to be well past your position before you sit back down.

Now that we know what to do, let us be good examples by properly saluting the flag, and also spread the word and instruct others on the proper way to honor the flag.

Michael Rockwell

Clarence Center


Forget tribute bands and hire original talent

It's outdoor concert season in Western New York. Schedules have come out and we're all marking our calendars for the shows we'd like to see. However, once again, we're given a diet of oldies and counterfeits by promoters and organizers trying to save a buck.

Our favorite bands (minus a few key members) from the '70s and '80s have been resurrected. Sure, music from 35 years ago is still relevant, but the strangers playing these tunes today were still in grade school in '76.

It was a big event in Erie, Pa., recently, when the mayor's eagerly awaited announcement that the headline band for Erie Days would be Kansas. Great band, huh? Well, sorry, but only the original drummer, Phil Ehart, remains. What we're getting are counterfeiters.

And there must be some amazing salesmen who sweep into small cities like Dunkirk and North Tonawanda proclaiming the incredible "tribute" acts that can be had for a few grand a night. The following list is taken from this year's schedules: Billy Joel tribute, Elton John tribute, Tragically Hip tribute, Beatles "Magic," U2 tribute, Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute, Dave Matthews tribute, Kiss tribute and, believe it or not, a Rascal Flatts tribute band. No kidding.

Is the "tribute" to the band or the fans? I can't tell, but whoever is selling this, I don't want any part of it. How about booking lesser-known bands that are truly original and inspiring? They're not hard to find. Please, quit trying to jam this mediocrity down our throats. But special thanks to Buffalo's Thursday at the Square and Wharf shows.

Sean Kinal



Public must become more 'media literate'

The June 2 op-ed "In cyberspace, everyone's a critic," asks if the general public will be able to distinguish between educated opinion and misleading websites -- a sobering reminder of today's speed and greed, combined with high-tech, multimedia communications that often generate more heat than light. The writer, Froma Harrop, cautions that "Businesses and consumers alike should worry."

Indeed, worry, yes. Or, maybe not worry, if we the public can become more "media literate." That's the ability to sift through and analyze messages that inform, entertain and sell to us. It's about asking pertinent questions about what's there, and noticing what's not there. It's the instinct to question what lies behind the media: motives, money, values and ownership. And to be aware of how these factors influence content.

In our world of multitasking, commercialism, globalization and interactivity, media literacy isn't about having the right answers: it's about asking the right questions. The result can be a lifelong empowerment of the public, and with this, we should be able to better recognize opinion sometimes masquerading as fact.

Raymond Herzog



Cleveland's surgery is really no secret

In regard to Charity Vogel's review of Matthew Algeo's book "The President Is a Sick Man" -- the secret is no secret. Conducted during the early days of the severe 1893 financial downturn, the surgery on President Grover Cleveland -- a Buffalo resident from 1855 to 1882 -- has been discussed extensively. Algeo's bibliography makes this more than clear.

The author seeks, mightily, to sensationalize his story, in the process misleading readers until the last pages of the book. His strength lies in discussions of the press during the period under discussion -- ironically, a subject Vogel ignores altogether.

Vogel briefly mentions that Cleveland apparently fathered a child -- Grover Cleveland Folsom -- out of wedlock during his Buffalo years. Literally, at former Erie County Sheriff Cleveland's bidding, the child was wrenched from his mother, Maria Halpin, and adopted by a local physician (also a newspaper publisher of Democratic partisan persuasion) well able to support a child. The boy's offspring became a physician, practicing in Buffalo. In the hopes of at least some politico-historical sanity.

Sarah Slavin