CFS-verkko in English
Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a disabling neurological illness with an infectious cause. It is similar to multiple sclerosis, but much more common, estimated to affect up to 0.5 % of the population.
For some reason in Finland CFS/ME remains a very poorly known condition, even though it affects an estimated 25,000 people in the country of 5,500,000 people. The public insurance provider Kela denies its existence and most doctors know nothing about it - there is only one doctor who could be called an expert. No studies have ever been done in Finland. Unfortunately there are no support groups or patient organizations despite attempts to set up one.
CFS-verkko is the only Finnish website about CFS/ME, founded in May 2006. It features plenty of medical information about CFS/ME (e.g. diagnosis, differential diagnosis, symptoms, book reviews, glossary, related conditions, treatment and severe CFS/ME), several stories of people suffering from it, printable PDF brochures for both doctors and patients, links, videos (linked from YouTube and other video sites) and a forum with over 10,000 posts. Currently all of the content, except for the forum posts, patient stories, one article and the videos, are created by Maija Haavisto.
The website design is created by Julio Sepia, based on marionette graphics by Stephen Caissie. The PHP programming is by Lauri Koponen.
Besides Finnish, posts in English and Swedish are allowed on the forum, as long as they are relevant to the readers (e.g. posts from immigrants living in Finland or about CFS/ME events taking place in nearby countries). (Of course posts in Sami, an official minority language in Finland, are also allowed, but unfortunately it is unlikely anyone is able to reply to you.)
CFS-verkko is free of advertisements, with the exception of some Amazon affiliate links in the book reviews. It is unlikely that advertisements will ever be displayed on this site. Commercial posts on the forums are evaluated on case-by-case basis (but ones in English are extremely unlikely to be tolerated).
Using this website with Google Translate is not recommended, since machine translation from Finnish works poorly and some content could even have an opposite meaning. Of course, even when using the site in Finnish, the administration cannot take responsibility for any possible errors. The reader use this site at their own discretion and should consult a physician for all medical problems and treatments.
CFS-verkko was created by 28-year old Finnish journalist, author and medical writer Maija Haavisto, herself a CFS/ME patient since 2000, though living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands since 2010. She has also written a book titled Reviving the Broken Marionette: Treatments for CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia (2008), which was published in Finnish by Finn Lectura as CFS:n ja fibromyalgian hoito in 2010, the foreword written by professor, sleep researcher Olli Polo. Finn Lectura also published Haavisto's second medical textbook Hankala potilas vai hankala sairaus in 2001. Thanks to a grant she is currently working on a new medical book about treatments for autoimmune diseases, hopefully due out in 2013.
Haavisto has written two novels dealing with CFS/ME, Marian ilmestyskirja (2011) and Makuuhaavoja (2012), both published by Muruja. She has also adapted the former into a play, which will hopefully go into production in 2013 or 2014. She is looking for an international/English language publisher for all of her books.
Haavisto is a columnist for the Tukilinja disability magazine and writes about health (and other) subjects for various magazines. She has also been interviewed about CFS/ME for several Finnish publications. She was a speaker at two low dose naltrexone conferences in Britain in 2010 about the use of LDN in the treatment of CFS/ME. She also does medical translation.