This article, particularly its grossly misleading title and opening paragraph, can enter the pantheon of egregious misrepresentation of science, particularly as it relates to the UK sport of bashing the neuro-immune disease M.E.. When the opening paragraph is directly contradicted by quotes within the piece, you know that the game’s afoot, and that the author and editors of this dreck should be pilloried for their ignorance and journalistic slovenliness.
No, Dr Lipkin et al did NOT find that, “Viruses have nothing to do with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)”. They found that ONE virus, and ONE FAMILY of viruses (polytropic Murine Leukemia Viruses) were not found linked with “CFS” - in their particular study. No study is definitive, and they may yet be proven wrong. But mis-stating their findings so egregiously smacks of patronage, not journalistic integrity.
Closing the piece with a coup d’eclat that “Patients with CFS have benefited from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), which teaches people to change the way they think, and structured exercise programmes.” merely reinforces the sad reality that yet another media source from across the pond is peddling propaganda, not science on M.E.
As an Irish person from Canada & the US, I would argue that there remains much room for education. Might I suggest you start with a gander at: a) The difference between idiopathic fatigue and the neuro-immune disease M.E. - and the possibility that there are many subgroups and further diagnoses within this wastebasket diagnosis, which is “CFS”.
b) Follow the emerging research from Norway, where two leading oncologists found that when lymphoma patients - who also happened to have M.E. - received Rituxan, their multisystem complications associated with M.E. inexplicably and dramatically improved. Not often you get patients BEGGING for more chemotherapy, but this is exactly what transpired. And the upshot is that M.E. may have an auto-immune component. This author could have intelligently added that viruses figure prominently in the patho-physiology of many auto-immune diseases, and as Dr Lipkin pointed out, they are digging deeper now, not giving up the hunt;
c) This week’s Teleconference by patients with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where the FDA literally came out swinging, in declaring “ME/CFS” a “Serious and Life-threatening Disease” - and in promising to expedite drug development for this spectrum of diseases.
And finally, I’d throw down the gauntlet and challenge you to find me a study on CBT and GET, which:
- Includes the most seriously ill M.E. patients - often bedridden and housebound;
- Proves with use of objective data - such as actimetry or V02 Max Stress test data on anaerobic threshold (pathologic in M.E.) - that patients’ exercise tolerance increases;
- Demonstrates that these severely ill patients are often able to return to work and regular exercise - something which the Norwegians are doing with Rituxan, and the Americans with the immunomodulator Ampligen; and
- Does not change the goalposts half-way through the measurement of “success” - as the grievously flawed PACE study did.
Please try a hand at science, instead of this propagandic pornography, exemplified by the above article. I look forward to showcasing this article as an example of all that is wrong with journalism on M.E., when gross mis-statements of reality are routinely served to a hapless public.
The UK is the laughing stock of the world for its medieval attitudes about M.E., and its titillating but grossly flawed peep-show “journalism” on this topic. A large contingent of your media has prostituted itself to a self-serving cadre of the medical establishment.
Readers of the Belfast Telegraph: you deserve better, both in journalism and in health care.