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David Sheffield Bell, MD, is a pediatrician who practices general medicine in a private practice in the town of Lyndonville, New York since 1979. He graduated in 1971 from Boston University with an MD degree and completed post-doctoral training in pediatrics including pediatric behavior and developmental disorders. Bell was also employed by the pediatrics department of Cambridge Hospital and Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts and served as clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York. Bell specializes in myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME, also investigated as chronic fatigue-immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)), fybromyalgia and orthostatic intolerance.
Work on myalgic encephalomyelitis
The pediatrician's interest in myalgic encephalomyelitis began in 1985 when an apparent cluster outbreak of 216 persons occurred in his rural community in upstate New York. He has written and published extensively on the condition, including an early review on children with ME and a thirteen-year follow-up study on the children who became ill during the outbreak.
Dr. Bell was interviewed about the outbreak in Lyndonville, New York in a 1996 Prime Time Live episode. The reporter described Bell's appeal to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for help with the illness, but Bell says the CDC didn't inform him about a similar outbreak at Lake Tahoe. He met with other researchers at a 1987 conference, and joined forces with researchers Paul Cheney and Elaine DeFreitas in an investigation of a possible retrovirus association with the disease. In 1990, the researchers presented evidence that they found DNA sequences very similar to a known human retrovirus in some patients, at a conference in Kyoto, Japan. Their study was later published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The announcement made headlines all over the world. The CDC first ignored their findings, then later conducted a study and published a paper that refuted the hypothesis.
Bell wrote The Doctor's Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which was published in 1995. The book describes Bell's CFIDS disability scale, which is comparable to the Karnofsky scale. Government publications and primary research have used or proposed Bell's scale for the documentation of severity of symptoms in ME/CFS.
In 2003 United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson designated Bell chairperson of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC), a panel of 11 experts that provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services "on the development and implementation of programs to inform the public; health care professionals; and the biomedical, academic, and research communities about advances related to CFS". Bell also served as a board member of the International Association for CFS/ME (IACFS/ME), the international organization of ME/CFS researchers and clinicians.
- Bell DS (1988), "CFIDS: A Disease of a Thousand Names", D.Pollard
- Bell DS (1995), "The Doctor's Guide To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Understanding, Treating, And Living With Cfids, Da Capo Press, Jan 17, ISBN 978-0201407976
- Bell DS (1996), "Curing Fatigue", Berkley, Sep 1, ISBN 978-0425149836
- Bell DS (1999), "A Parent's Guide to Cfids: How to Be an Advocate for Your Child With Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction", Informa HealthCare, Mar 8, ISBN 978-0789006318
- Bell DS (2000), "Faces of CFS. Case Histories of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", MZR Publishing, Aug 30, ISBN 0970770200 
- Bell DS (2007), "Cellular Hypoxia and Neuro-Immune Fatigue", WingSpan Press, Jul 10, ISBN 978-1595941794
- Bell DS (1992), "Children with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue-Immune Dysfunction Syndrome: Overview and Review of the Literature", in: Hyde BM (ed.) (1992), "The Clinical and Scientific Basis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", Nightingale Research Foundation, Ottawa, Canada with editorial and conceptual advice from Levine P and Goldstein J., 724+23p, ISBN 0-9695662-0-4, ch.19, p.209-216
- Bell KM, Cookfair D, Bell DS, Reese P, Cooper L (1991), "Risk factors associated with chronic fatigue syndrome in a cluster of pediatric cases", Rev. Infect. Dis. 13:S32–8, pmid=2020801
- DeFreitas E, Hilliard B, Cheney PR, et al. (1991), "Retroviral sequences related to human T-lymphotropic virus type II in patients with chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., Apr;88(7):2922–6, pmid=1672770, 
- Bell DS, Bell KM, Cheney PR (1994), "Primary juvenile fibromyalgia syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome in adolescents", Clin. Infect. Dis., Jan;18:S21–3, pmid=8148447
- Ash-Bernal R, Wall C, Komaroff AL, et al (1995), "Vestibular function test anomalies in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome", Acta Otolaryngol. Jan;115(1):9–17, pmid=7762393
- Streeten DH, Thomas D, Bell DS (2000), "The roles of orthostatic hypotension, orthostatic tachycardia, and subnormal erythrocyte volume in the pathogenesis of the chronic fatigue syndrome", Am. J. Med. Sci., Jul;320(1):1–8, pmid=10910366
- Bell DS, Jordan K, Robinson M (2001), "Thirteen-year follow-up of children and adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome", Pediatrics, May;107(5):994–8, pmid=11331676, 
- Gerrity TR, Bates J, Bell DS, Chrousos GP, Furst G, Hedrick T, Hurwitz B, Kula RW, Levine SM, Moore RC, Schondorf R (2002), "Chronic fatigue syndrome: what role does the autonomic nervous system play in the pathophysiology of this complex illness?", Neuroimmunomodulation, 10(3):134–41 
- Stewart CC, Cookfair DL, Hovey KM, Wende KE, Bell DS, Warner CL (2003), "Predictive immunophenotypes: disease-related profile in chronic fatigue syndrome", Cytometry B Clin Cytom, May;53(1):26–33, pmid=12717688
- Bell DS (2005), "Be sure to distinguish CFS from depression", Clinical Psychiatry News, Apr1;33(4):14(1)
- Jason LA, Porter N, Shelleby E, Bell DS, Lapp CW, Rowe K, De Meirleir K (2008), "A Case Definition for Children with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", Clinical Medicine: Pediatrics, Nov;2008(1):53–57