Well-Come to Agent for Change, a blog created by Marly Silverman, to serve as a catalyst for change that is much needed on the issues affecting millions of individuals stricken with neuroendocrineimmune disorders worldwide. Through this blog I want to share ideas, exchange, communicate and find solutions for everyday living. The goal is to pursue quality of life that will make a difference in the lives of individuals with neuroendocrineimmune disorders (NEIDs).

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Dear Friends,

Here is P.A.N.D.O.R.A.'S Christmas wishes to you all! Click on on the link below.

'Here is PANDORA'S Christmas wishes and Click the Share button to spread the cheers and create links to this email on popular social networking and bookmarking size like Facebook, Twitter, and Digg.'

Marly Silverman

Monday, December 21, 2009

PANDORA SPONSORED XMRV Lecture Segment 1: Background, overlapping conditions, viruses

This video is part 1 of 12. The lecture presented by Dr. Nancy Klimas was sponsored by P.A.N.D.O.R.A. The wonderful edited video series was recorded and edited by ME-CFScommunity.com (Daniel Moricoli). English transcription of the video series were coordinated by PhoenixRising.com. Diagnosesupport.com is working on translations to Deutch, Spanish and Italian. This is true “Patient-driven and physician approved™” collaborations. 1Voice, 1Community, 1Cause™

The complete series can be seen at P.A.N.D.O.R.A.'s youtube.com page at http://www.youtube.com/user/pandoranet

Friday, December 18, 2009

Community, Collaboration, Unity can drive worthwhile solutions for CFS-ME Patients & Other Neuroendocrineimmune Illnesses

I am posting a reply that I provided earlier to one of my blogs at me-cfscommunity.com (PANDORA's Follow up Letter to the U.S. Secretary of Health - Need your number one request/input NOW). Because of technical difficulties (and or operator error) my corrections did not come through in the page layout. In order not to lose what I wrote I had to redo it and in the process I realized that my response should be in a blog format, which I also did on my blog OneAgentforChange, but due to health challenges could not publish promptly,

Now, once again I am bed-bound with a CFS-ME relapse coupled with a head cold that is making me miserable, because I know I could be spending time with my son Lawrence today going over my mother Zuzu,(of blessed memory) belongings and shooting the breeze and probably arguing about national and international politics. It has become a "family tradition" but one that can be annoying at times, partially because as a mother, I will have the urge to pull rank.

But I am digressing, and I need to go back to the reasons why you are reading this blog post now and they have plenty to do with the title above.

The conversation or reply ensued out of PANDORA’s request for ONE single request/suggestion that patients could provide to PANDORA for a follow-up letter to the U.S. Secretary of Health regarding the plight of our community of suffering. Here is then the revised response from me:

“Khaly's comment/suggested request is one that ALL of the organizations advocating for CFS-ME have requested in one form or the other for quite sometime. The overall vote of confidence in the U.S. Government ability to do the "right thing" sunk to its lowest ever. In my last testimony to the CFSAC Oct 29-30-2009 testimony.pdf, I suggested the incorporation of the 3R's - Reconciliation, Restore and Resolve in the future approach of government health agencies on CFS-ME specially after the XMRV virus findings. The patient community is an instrumental part of this process too. We need to keep the pressure on the U.S. Government to work toward solutions.

Roy's comment hits the jackpot. But PANDORA wants more. We want the Department of Health and Human Services, not just the NIH, to ensure that LARGE grants are disbursed. We want an embracement from the top of our government the acknowledgment that they are paying attention. No more hand-outs that are piece meal and are not targeting the huge task CFS-ME (and other NEI illnesses represent). It is the key that is missing in the whole picture.

We know for a fact that there is a huge disconnect in Academia halls in the U.S. (large and small medical colleges) that completely disregard NEI illnesses. We have witnessed that year after year. The professional disregard for NEI Researchers in their own college campuses. The disregard for our national community's plight in the cities and states where these academic institutions are located. In Dr. Ken Friedman's video, his long- successful career as a medical professor is being jeopardized because his superiors are not keen on the issues. Unfortunately, this pattern of disregard and consideration towards fellow college professors and researchers who are teaching and or researching on NEI illnesses have been a huge stumble on the science side. It reflects harshly in the patient community. It is the reason why patient's quality of life suffers and we languish. Many of us are survivors, but we are not thriving and leading well deserved productive lives.

I say no more! We need to collectively communicate to academia that they too are responsible for the scientific push for NEI illnesses. No more hiding behind the fact that research grants are not coming down the pipeline because of health government officials. The officials who are serving now in our government have led careers and or were trained in the same academic halls that we have found no solace or embracement. If the prestigious universities with medical and research centers do not entice, teach, educate and make it part of their curriculum NEI illnesses as a must have, do you think that the NIH, CDC or others will out of the goodness of their structure take the initiative?

As far as our community, I think it is healthy to have respectful disagreements among patient of all background and personal experience. It is the diversity of our backgrounds that fuel the debate and the conversations. But we need to be UNITED as an ENTIRE community. I mean every single organization large or small, perfect or imperfect, so our UNITED VOICES can be heard by concentrating on the issues that WE ALL AGREE!

As the founder of PANDORA I have some personal experience on the difficulty of managing a non- profit advocating for the HUGE NEEDS of our community. It is a HUGE task followed by the lack of HUGE FINANCIAL RESOURCES that lead us to MISSING OPPORTUNITIES, which would have provided better results had we the capability to seek, participate or simply identify these opportunities. The reality is that NO SINGLE ORGANIZATION can do it all. We the individuals representing patient's organizations need to be humbled of this simple fact, and yet we need to maintain a motivation factor- i.e. a certain amount of pride for the work that we do. If we don't share it with you, with potential benefactors and with our health agencies our successes, we are not doing part of the job and part of our mission.

This is a HUGE country with geographical, regional culture, diversity and political ideologies that all combined make it even more difficulty to tackle the hurdles we have in our community of suffering. Simply put, and as I see it, PANDORA's weaknesses as an organization is complemented by other organizations strengths. I can share several good example with you: The New Jersey CFS Association sponsored the first and only CFS-ME Physician's Consensus Manual (a project of Dr. Kenneth Friedman and Dr. Oleske and many others). PANDORA realized the importance of the manual and we provided a grant to another organization in Spain- the Fundacion... and the collaboration of Dr. Ferran J. Garcia Fructuoso brilliantly translated by Cathy Van Riel, a colleague patient advocate from Spain.

The grant we gave for a medical student scholarship to the Vermont CFIDS Association is a milestone for the work the association has been done over the years.

We also provided a scholarship to a student diagnosed with any of the NEI illnesses that we embrace at DePaul University – Chronic Illness Initiative

In 2009, we provided a grant to Dr. Gordon Broderick's work in Canada, which will complement the grant he has received from the CFIDS Association (CAA).

Another good example of the other way around: The CAA about two years ago provided us with a grant so we could have a booth at a large women’s business conference in Tampa. It was a huge success! On the day of the conference I met with the mayor of Tampa and I met with the President of the University of South Florida – Dr. Judy Genshaft leading to a constructive conversation about NEI illnesses. Our booth was one of the busiest ones in the conference hall!

Other great examples: PANDORA and the Wisconsin CFS Association have been providing support to a family in Buncombe County, North Carolina dealing with the issue of Factitious Disorder by Proxy leading to 23 other organizations and hard core advocates signing off on the letter we sent to the Governor of North Carolina. PANDORA's strategical partnership with ME-CFScommunity.com: we are all benefiting from this endeavor. Our collaboration with the IACFS-ME for the presentation of one of their outstanding (raising the bar considerably) conferences in 2007 leading to an even better one in Reno, Nevada in 2008. In 2008 we provided a grant to the IACFS-ME Association honoring Dr. Nancy Klimas which in turn was used to honor two upcoming Junior Researchers on CFS one being Dr. John Chia.

Dr. Nancy Klimas this year donated a one hour consultation for our organization to auction off on E-Bay. The auction provided us with a wonderful donation to our bank account. She also donated her time for a lecture on XMRV virus that we sponsored in partnership with me-cfscommunity.com and the local empowerment support groups.

Across the country, I often hear of treating physicians and researchers collaborating with the local organizations catering to our community. Dr. Kenneth Friedman is one individual who has actually broken the record in community involvement. All you have to do is Google his name and pages of information reflects his involvement in the IACFS-ME, PANDORA, Vermont CFIDS Association, Wisconsin CFS-ME Association, CFSAC and much more.

More recently, the strategical partnership with the Lanford Foundation-Lifelyme™, for the special project- The NEI Center(tm), in New Jersey, which is leading to other important collaborative initiatives in New Jersey and beyond.

For the past two years, If my mind does not fail me, PANDORA has advertised in the conference's booklets sponsored by the New Jersey CFS Association. In turn this year, they provided us a donation grant for our work on Advocacy.

PANDORA in addition has provided donations to the ME Association in the UK as well as to the National Fibromyalgia Association and the CAA for their Advocacy work. Strategic collaboration with the American Pain Foundation created a huge training base for advocates across the country for several organizations fighting on your behalf on pain issues.

So what is the underlining message that I want to share with you? Is that as patients, as researchers and physicians, as organizations, and as government officials, we need to stop the finger-pointing and substitute it for constructive criticism. We need to give until it hurts to the several causes that are pushing for major changes in the areas that are meaningful to you individually, as well as for the overall community. We need to do so, WITHOUT diminishing the work of others. As the representative of an non-profit organization, I need to continue to think outside of the box, and if we know of an organization that can do the task that PANDORA does not have, or the skills or personnel to do it, we will collaborate with them with great pride wishing for their continuing success.

We need to continue to debate, but without name calling and lack of respect. Yes, be angry, be vocal, but let's channel the anger to constructive and positive initiatives. Calling for the take-down of one organization or another is not constructive, questioning the organization for its performance it is. Calling for the replacement of an individual is quite reasonable, but only when we provide strong facts supporting the request. "Demonizing" organizations or individuals are extremely counterproductive to the overall community. Criticizing for lack of performance based on the facts is a valid approach that will lead to great changes, but personal attacks towards the humanity of others, is in my book and a position that is shared by many others in our community, as not the best way to ensure common sense, harmony, and the long-term and profitable negotiations, which will result in benefits for the overall community.

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, a day that Jews all over the world celebrate as the triumph of light over the darkness. Jews are taught that we should not curse the dark, we should simply light the candle. As a Jewish woman and applying the same thought to our plight as NEI patients, we will bring the light to our communities through collaboration, sharing, creating bonds and remaining loyal to what unites us all.

Happy Hanukkah! May this entire December holiday season bring you peace, health, tranquility, wealth and may it provide the unity and the cure for what ails us, and for what our community needs it. May we be blessed with these sweet gifts for a lifetime.


1 Voice, 1 Community, 1 Cause™

P.S. : This is not a prepared statement i.e, it is without any editing by PANDORA's editor. Please excuse any grammar or typos. This is simply a soulful message from me, an individual with CFS-ME (and related illnesses), who understands the health challenges individuals with NEI illnesses experience. But ONE, who also is engaged in the process of finding solutions that will bring quality of life for a forgotten patient community.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


P.A.N.D.O.R.A. received today a letter from HemisphereRX, the maker of Ampligen, a drug which has been shown to help individuals with CFS-ME. I thought you would like to read it too. I have cut and paste the entire letter for you. Please share with other members of our community.


To: The CFS Patients, Advocacy Community and Healthcare Practitioners

From: Dr. David Strayer
Medical Director of Hemispherx Biopharma

Re: FDA Response on Ampligen®

Hemispherx has received a “complete” response from the FDA in which the FDA requires one additional clinical study to show a convincing effect of Ampligen in the treatment of CFS and confirm the safety in the target population. The on-going open-label study (AMP 511) and the patients enrolled will continue under the current protocol.

The FDA has provided Hemispherx with a clearly articulated set of recommendations to go forward. I would like to share with you the process we plan to go through with the agency in order to identify the most expeditious path to satisfy the requirements for the approval of the Ampligen NDA.

We plan to schedule a meeting with the agency as quickly as possible in order to obtain additional guidance and clarification concerning a number of matters, including the design of this clinical trial. This will be an ongoing process with the agency.

As part of this dialogue, we plan to evaluate the utility of a special protocol assessment from the agency in order to clearly delineate the clinical trial end points, the statistical methods to be utilized, and to obtain agreement with the agency on the results necessary for approval.

Four factors will support the sufficient execution of this clinical trial. First, the CDC's awareness program has increased public knowledge of the disease. Second, the recent identification of a potential etiologic agent, namely a novel retrovirus, should help accelerate patient identification.

Third, the company plans to utilize longstanding relationships with a group of internationally renowned clinical investigators to accelerate patient enrollment.

Lastly, the company plans to expand recently entered contractual relationships with two of the largest clinical research organizations in the world to accelerate its clinical monitoring and data collection capacity.

Finally, the company has adequate finances and resources to address and respond to all of these FDA recommendations. We have been and will continue to be committed to those suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Additional information can be found at www.hemispherx.net. (12/17/09)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


PANDORA's latest newsletter is packed with great information and tips on how to beat the flu season, advocacy videos, CFSAC testimonies from a "courageous Doc" - Ken Friedman, and the latest update on Leia Jobe, one of the finalists of PANDORA's 2006-2007 International Advocacy Video Contest. You will love her new video!

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Study suggests link between virus XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome a Living Well video Health and Fitness cleveland com

As you can see I am catching up on my video suggestions. Here is another excellent video validating the plight of CFS patients. This is another education tool that we can share with our state and federal congressional leaders when requesting necessary funding for CFS and other NEI illnesses. The time for regional research centers like the NEI Center is now. Go to http://www.causes.com/pandoraneicenter and join PANDORA's cause which is YOUR Cause too. Quality of life issues goes hand and hand with much needed research for neuroendocrineimmune illnesses.
1 Voice, 1 Community, 1 Cause(TM)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dr. Oz Show Part 1

Here is Dr. Oz Show on the XMRV virus and CFS - Part 1. His show has generated intense buzz (before and after the show being broadcasted), within the NEI patient community. For me one of the best quotes of the show was made by Dr. Moore when in conversation with Dr. Oz on the issue of memory loss - she mentioned that patients call it brain fog and she elaborated that is not like not knowing where you placed your car keys...it is you don't know what to do with them, when you find them.

This show is a great educational snippet for the public in general. Some have pointed out that Dr. Oz did not give time for the fact that men are severely affected by CFS-ME too, but he did mention it briefly on the show. Also, he did not point out that children can be affected too, but I suppose it was implied since it is a virus and the public is at risk because of the blood supply becoming tainted. He clearly discussed the fact that millions of Americans based on the percentage being extrapolated to the general population - 10 million - have tested positive for the XMRV virus and don't know that they might be at risk.

Leave a comment on PANDORA's page and let's keep up with the momentum and with the debate. We cannot let our government health agencies off the hook. I believe the NIH is now on board and will try to validate the XMRV virus findings.

But we need to continue the grass roots pressure and as patients we need to take ownership of our future. We need to enhance our political and social level of influence now more than ever.
One Voice, One Community, One Cause(tm)

P.S.: Thank you Dr. Oz!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dr. Oz Show on CFS This Thursday: Hoping it will be another holiday season gift to our community

Tomorrow, Thursday December 3, 2009, the topic on Dr. Oz television show will be on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This is a much waited show as it is post XMRV virus related findings by the Whittemore Peterson Institute. I am hoping that they will interview Annette Whittemore, her daughter Andrea and of course Dr. Judy Mikovits and Dr. Vincent C. Lombardi. The CFIDS Association released today that Dr. Danica Moore will be interviewed. Dr. Moore has a child with CFS, and that gives her also an unique perspective.

This is actually a follow-up on previous interview with Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum a few weeks ago that also touched briefly on CFS-ME and other related illnesses. I am grateful to Dr. Teitelbaum for his appearance and for his desire to created much needed awareness for CFS-ME. I know that some will disagree with me, as he has taken some flack on how the interview was conducted. In his defense, I should mention that time constraint is always an issue when being interviewed by a television or radio talk show host. I have often joked that by the time I spell out the name of P.A.N.D.O.R.A. and describe the list of illnesses we embrace, I am going to hear those famous words..."Sorry we are out of time" or "You have 30 seconds." Time is finite in the media world. It is quite contrary in my world. To me time is all that I have, time to get better and time to find a cure. But I am digressing...

The important question I am posing tonight is will CFS-ME be given and be discussed with the scientific approach that it is necessary for the sake of millions of CFS-ME patients or will just get the fluffy approach or disconcerting attitude of "Hey Hon, I am tired too"? Like many stricken with a neuroendocrineimmune illness, I want to see a serious debate on the quality of life issues that affect us. I will be watching the show tomorrow with great anticipation, and with great hope that patients will no longer have to hide from family, friends and in many cases from themselves the fact that CFS-ME (as well as other neuroendocrineimmune illnesses) is the main reason why they languish alone and are so often abandoned by family, friends and employers.

I am hoping that they will discuss the need for the establishment of regional research centers by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as it is part of the CFS Advisory Committee number one recommendation among many others including ensuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I say no more excuses from our government!

I hope that these opportunities will continue to lead to a greater debate on the health care issues that are unique to individuals with neuroendocrineimmune illnesses. I am ready to join in the conversation. I know that many others around the country are too. Patient empowerment, taking ownership, standing up for patient's rights, embracing the same issues as a community are all signs being reported by thousands across our country and abroad. This amazing growth is an awesome result of great scale and greater results. I know I want to remain part of the solution. I know I am already in this patient revolution. How about you?
One Voice, One Community, One Cause™