By Alan Cocchetto, NCF Medical Director ©2006
Just how far has the NCF's (National CFIDS Foundation, Inc.) research
advanced and how soon will this information be released? As Medical
Director, I am frequently asked how close are we to "real" answers
regarding this disease and how soon will this information be
forthcoming. I think that a week doesn't go by that I don't try to
answer this question for someone somewhere and rightly so. To all who
suffer with CFIDS, the answers can't come soon enough.
Since the Super Bowl just aired a few weeks ago and now that the
Olympics are on TV, let me borrow a couple of phrases from these to
apply to my answer to this question and then let me extrapolate somewhat
on this as well. The NCF's research has moved far enough down the
playing field to be considered "in the red zone" in football terms. For
those who are not football fans, the "red zone" is the offensive area
just before the end zone. In other words, we're ready to score! Of
course some would say that based upon where we are research wise, we
have already moved into the end zone! Let's face it we all want a
touchdown scientifically speaking because we believe this is one of the
few things that will have a major impact on this disease worldwide.
A couple of years ago, a CFIDS patient was kind enough to send me a book
titled "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas Kuhn. Dr.
Thomas Kuhn was a professor at MIT and he wrote what is considered to be
one of the hundred most influential books published since World War II.
Kuhn's book provides an important view of the very nature of science and
its ongoing evolution. He focuses on the processes involved with the
development of new scientific theories that have occurred throughout
history. Kuhn goes on to further explain the differences between normal
science, scientific discoveries and paradigms. In particular, new
scientific discoveries lead to scientific theories that can cause crises
within the scientific community. These particular crises can then lead
to a scientific revolution that will potentially change the way the
world views a particular subject and what is referred to by Kuhn as a
paradigm shift! In Kuhn's own words "Paradigms gain their status because
they are more successful than their competitors in solving a few
problems that the group of practitioners has come to recognize as
Kuhn's own work best describes what the NCF has managed to accomplish.
The NCF has (1) Determined the most significant scientific facts, (2)
Matched scientific facts with theory and (3) Will fully articulate its
paradigm theory! Paradigm articulation, as you will see outlined in
future Forum issues and placed directly on our website, has taken a
Herculean effort, immense creativity, as well as ingenuity to bring
scientific theory and nature into closer agreement with one another.
There have been a great many technical challenges that, as you can
imagine, have had to be overcome. Some continue to be a work in
progress! One thing is for certain however. Our world is beginning to
look much brighter than ever before.
Let me explain further. The NCF's primary mission has always been to
concisely focus on the cause and the cure for CFIDS. Though our Research
Program was only formally initiated in 2002, it acts as direct proof for
our desire to
end the longtime suffering of patients worldwide. Though the NCF has
provided over $ 325,000 in grants to medical scientists, our vastly
different approach in orchestrating as well as executing our research
plan is what truly sets us apart from the research efforts of others in
this same field. The NCF has believed that this approach to research is
far more focused and interlinked than the current "shotgun" approach
employed by others. As such, the NCF expects to arrive at its
scientific destination sooner, with greater precision and at a greatly
reduced overall cost compared to others in this same field.
Limited financial resources have not deterred the NCF from adopting a
unique research model which allowed us to provide cutting-edge research
for a fraction of the normal costs. This enabled the Foundation to
achieve much greater reward-to-risk ratios. In addition, this also
provided us with a research approach that allowed us to "leap-frog"
currently limited medical views, principles and practices. The basis for
such an approach is exemplified by the following characteristics
employed by the Foundation to date and utilizes (A) Extensive and
intimate knowledge base for the disease based on long-term patient data,
(B) Deployment of evidence-based medical techniques, (C) Use of disease
profiling methods to assist in providing "disease fingerprints," (D)
Exploitation of disease mechanisms and (E) Orchestration and research
execution that is self-directed.
The NCF had determined early on that it must orchestrate its own
research efforts. To do so successfully has required extensive time and
effort on its own behalf. Furthermore, there has been no substitute for
this primary driving force of the Foundation. There are no salaries, no
egos, no fame and no fortune but just a truly humble desire to complete
its mission to move the scientific ball way down the field of knowledge
for all those who are seriously ill worldwide. As the Olympic mantra
states "Passion lives here!" This perhaps best describes the sincerest
efforts of the NCF on behalf of patients worldwide. It really is that
Thus, we sit here poised at the beginning of a major scientific paradigm
shift. Look for upcoming changes to our website as once the plan moves
into motion, we will be releasing a great deal of information via the
internet. Our position will be very carefully articulated scientifically
and will include supportive research data. As Kuhn eloquently pointed
out in his book "Probably the single most prevalent claim advanced by
the proponents of a new paradigm is that they can solve the problems
that have led the old one to a crisis. When it can legitimately be
made, this claim is often the most effective one possible....
Claims of this sort are particularly likely to succeed if the new
paradigm displays a
quantitative precision strikingly better than its older competitor."
Here's to a new