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First IACFS/ME Virtual Research Conference: A Review And Reflection

Monday 14 September 2020


From medical journal Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior:



First IACFS/ME virtual research conference: a review and reflection

By Fred Friedberg
Published online: 8 September 2020
Copyright © 2020 Informa UK Limited.

Given the cancelation of the 2020 in-person IACFS/ME conference due to COVID restrictions, the Board decided to plan an alternative, if shortened, virtual meeting to gauge interest from the ME/CFS community. The half-day (Zoom) conference was held on 21 August 2020 and attracted 274 attendees from around the world, including researchers, clinicians, professional trainees, and patients. The attendance figure reached 80+ % of our in-person numbers. As one of the host moderators, it was clear to me that attendees were intensely interested in the research presentations, given scores of questions and comments for the speakers.

The Q and A feature was especially effective as ALL written questions were auto-posted and efficiently directed to speakers. I believe that many more questions were answered in this virtual (vs. in person) format because presenters had the option of selectively typing in answers as well as responding orally. Session topics included COVID-19, Treatments, Immunology, Metabolism, Heart rate variability and Clinical networks. Featured presentations were drawn from peer-reviewed abstracts previously accepted as orals to our (canceled) in-person meeting.

Similar to our in-person meetings, fully accredited CME was available. The feedback I received indicated that the format of short (10 min) talks kept people’s attention and that the 5 hours went by very quickly. A conference recording will be sent out to all attendees. For interested individuals who did not attend, a conference recording is expected to be available in mid-September on our website:


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