Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Opposite of Nonsense

BBC Radio Norfolk: fantastic stuff from Dr Ian Gibson on ME: 'the medical brotherhood were pretty negative'.

The medical brotherhood is a lovely expression to describe Wessely and his cronies (though Dr Gibson gallantly does not mention Wessely by name).

'Let's do some proper research', says Dr Ian Gibson. 'Research is the way forward'.

Honey to my ears in the wake of the nonsense on Channel Four's 'Food Hospital' on Tuesday night. A young woman with 'chronic fatigue syndrome' had her life turned round by eating regularly. Yes, eating regularly improved her symptoms after thirteen years! I wish no offense to the young woman featured but I find it hard to believe that she has ME (and also that she had not looked at her diet in thirteen years of illness). The usual conflation of ME and 'chronic fatigue'. At the end, Lucy Jones, dietician, congratulates this young woman for 'improving her perceived symptoms of chronic fatigue'. Perceived? Bla bla bla.

Just looking at the Food Hospital's 'guide' to "'chronic fatigue syndrome'  - also known as ME", you can see how poorly the illness ME has been researched - maybe an unpaid intern wrote the guide on her lunchbreak? The usual well-trodden, lazy media mantra, which appears to be 'conflation, conflation, conflation!', rather than 'education, education, education!'.

And an absolute star, Dr Montoya of Stanford, honest and charming in his discussion of what researching ME entails. This event occured after the Mill Valley screening of 'Voices from  the Shadows'.

*This is an update: I also want to highlight these articles by San Francisco journalist David Tuller. Particularly, this one: Chronic fatigue syndrome and the CDC, a  long, tangled tale (this is a very long article, but worth persevering).


symiester said...

Here's some research:

Daniel M said...

Hi there. Great blog!! Yes i saw that programme you mentioned too and found it pretty silly really. If only it was as simple as eating right and watching blood sugar levels! As if.

nmj said...

Symiester: I note you came here from Food Hospital Facebook just after I commented there last night (I also see my comment - which was entirely polite - appears to have been removed by Food Hosp, I guess they don't like reading criticism). I see also from my stats that you did not actually read any of the links in my post, preferring instead to slap on a link to a Dr Mercola and spurious research from 2006 that you appear to have found randomly on the internet. I don’t know if you are the same poster Simon (on Food Hosp FB page) who is fond of EFT and also Dr Mercola’s site. If you *are* Simon, you seem to have a genuine interest in health, so may I suggest that you try to learn about ME from the people who have it, who experience it, who know about it? May I suggest that you learn about the conflation that has gone on with ‘chronic fatigue’ and ME, a neuroimmune illness. You could start with learning the difference between Fukuda/Oxford and Canadian criteria. It’s all there if you actually want to learn.

Thanks, Daniel M.

nmj said...

I just had to cut and paste their definition of ME, it is so badly written apart from anything else:

CFS, also known as ME, is a condition which causes the sufferer to constantly feel tired. Research is still ongoing into this condition and there is no known cure. Symptoms can go beyond feeling tired to reduced mobility and lack of concentration. Treatment often involves adjusting the sufferer’s lifestyle to include regular eating patterns and adhering to a routine such as going to work and exercising, and can involve taking medication such as antidepressants.

Tired? How about toxic exhaustion? How about muscle/bone pain that a healthy person simply cannot comprehend??

Mmm... let's compare and contrast with the International Consensus Criteria for ME:

From Abstract: The label “chronic fatigue syndrome” (CFS) has persisted for many years because of lack of knowledge of the etiological agents and of the disease process. In view of more recent research and clinical experience that strongly point to widespread inflammation and multisystemic neuropathology, it is more appropriate and correct to use the term “myalgic encephalomyelitis”(ME) because it indicates an underlying pathophysiology. It is also consistent with the neurological classification of ME in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD G93.3).