1th European forum on Fibromyagia in La Coruna

The first European forum on Fibromyalgia “I Foro Europeo De Fobromialgia”  organized by the Spanish association ACOFIFA was a great success. The Spanish association ACOFIFA has done a tremendous job of organizing a Forum on October 8th , 9th and 10th where several speakers of international fame were present. As wide a variety of aspects of fibromyalgia as possible were explained. The people present, about 350, were likewise made up from a variety of people who are involved with fibromyalgia: patients, physicians, students, lawyers and patient associations from Spain but also from the European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA).

On October 8th, after the official opening by Soledad Morales Cañas president of ACOFIFA, the first  speaker was Dr. Fernández Solà from Spain. He talked about the similarities and differences between Fibromyalgia, CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and MCS (Multiply Chemical Sensitivity).
He was followed by Dr. Jon Russel who told the audience that fibromyalgia was real and this was scientifically proven to be right. He explained his part in this and how far they were at the moment with the research for a drug to help patients.

After these two lectures there was time for discussions from the audience with the speakers which were lead by Dr. Jesús Gómez Trigo, psychiatrist from Spain and medical advisor of ACOFIFA. This was an opportunity for a lot of people to take part in these discussions.

On October 9th the first  speaker was Dr. Francisco Branco from Spain. He was talking about the research which was going on in Fibromyalgia on the Biomedical field, what Spain’s role was in this and how far they are at the moment. Although it looks as if there was a lot of research going on, other rheumatic fields are much more researched. So also in this area there can be much achieved by patients and patients’ associations.

Dr. Branco was followed by the president of ENFA Robert Boelhouwer who took the opportunity to tell the audience about ENFA,  its goals and the way to achieve them. He also explained what the added value was of ENFA for the national / local associations.

After a coffee break the programme was continued and the next in line to speak was Dr Estivill. He was explaining about sleeping problems in general and the specific disorders of sleep in fibromyalgia patients. Not only was his lecture amusing it also told what possible treatments for this symptom are and how far the research on this field is.

After his lecture followed a discussion with the audience which lead by Dr. Jesús Gómez Trigo.  Dr Branco was most questioned about the attitude of physicians towards Fibromyalgia and Dr Estivill was most asked about the interaction of sleep and pain with Fibromyalgia. The combination of Medication, pain in Fibromyalgia and sleep disturbances was also frequently asked. After this, often emotional discussion, there was time for lunch.

The programme continued with Mrs. Mónica Rodríguez Bouza. She was telling about the Multi Disciplinary Programme and this evolution which happened in Andalucía. The evolution exists in the fact that the patient would play a more prominent role in his treatment and evaluation.

The next speaker was José Fernando Lousada Arochena a judge from the Social Court of Galicia(Spain). He was talking about the procedures and the difficulties of the court with the judging on fibromyalgia cases. He also emphasized that the judges are bound by the law and personal ideas or feelings may not play any part. If changes are necessary then it is up to the politicians to do that.

The last one to speak was Dr. Martínez-Lavin from Mexico. He was talking about the holistic approach on fibromyalgia and all the research he and his colleagues have done. The holistic way means to look at the human body in total. The functioning of the body depends on different aspects and if one of them is not working well then chaos will follow, which finds its way out by telling the person that he is “sick”.

For the last time there was time for discussion between the speakers and the audience. Again a lot of people made use of this opportunity which was again in lead by Dr. Jesús Gómez Trigo. The judge especially was asked about the different aspects and how to decide who to believe; the patient or the social worker who made up the report.

The lectures and discussions came to an end and the days were closed by the vice-president from the council of La Coruna Mr. Pablo Villamar Díaz and the president of ACOFIFA Mrs. Soledad Morales Cañas.  In her speech she spoke about her appreciation for Jose Manuel Orriols who acted not only as master of ceremonies but also was strongly committed to fibromyalgia and the realization of the forum.  She also invited the audience  to the closing dinner which was sponsored by the Town of La Coruna. This was a very pleasant event which a lot of people took part in.

The following day was used for the ones who were interested in visiting Santiago de Compestella, a famous place of pilgrimage. The Cathedral and The Portico of Glory tells the story of Saint Jacob and his ideas on his faith.

All and all we had some very interesting days and thoroughly appreciated the excellent organization and the  warm welcome we received in La Coruna, not only by the president and staff of ACOFIFA as well as from all the volunteers, the people who came to the forum and the speakers.


Some of the participants, volunteers, speakers and ENFA members

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