Thursday, 28 July 2011

BMJ Rapid Response from Malcolm Hooper

Re:History of prejudice

Malcolm Hooper, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

University of Sunderland

The editor of the BMJ refers to the "unproductive standoff" in relation to the long-running disagreement about the nature of ME between the evidence-based biomedical school dating back to at least 1956 (with the WHO classifying ME as a neurological disorder in 1969) versus the ideology of the "psychosocial" school, whose vested interests in maintaining their idiosyncratic categorisation of ME as a mental disorder are a matter of public record 1.

That standoff includes the psychosocial school directing in 1992 that in patients with ME, the first duty of the doctor is to avoid legitimisation of symptoms 2; in 1994 ME was described by them as merely "a belief" 3; in 1996 they recommended that no investigations should be performed to confirm the diagnosis 4; in 1997 they referred to ME as a "pseudo-disease diagnosis" 5, and in 1999 they said about ME patients: "Those who cannot be fitted into a scheme of objective bodily illness yet refuse to be placed into and accept the stigma of mental illness remain the undeserving sick of our society and our health service" 6.

In his letter to the BMJ 7 Peter White et al dismiss key symptomatology of ME including ataxia, palpitations with cardiac arrhythmias and loss of thermostatic stability as being of dubious validity, yet those symptoms are specifically required for a diagnosis of ME as stipulated by 26 international experts from 13 countries who between them have 400 years experience of diagnosing over 50,000 patients 8.

These experts base their latest criteria on biomedical research and clinical experience of widespread inflammation and multisystemic neuropathology found in ME.

Although claiming to do so, Peter White et al do not study ME; they use their own Oxford criteria that select people with psychiatric disorders in which chronic fatigue is a feature 9.

White says their own criteria are easier to use and insists that they do not exclude those with ME simply because he believes ME to be a mental disorder.

Furthermore, in his letter to the BMJ Peter White complains that the criteria which define people with classic ME are too burdensome for doctors to use.

When did the careful assessment of sick people stop being part of the practice of medicine, especially when the disorder in question is known to be a complex multi-system disorder?



2. Medical Research Council Highlights of the CIBA Foundation Symposium on CFS, 12-14th May 1992, reference S 1528/1 (section entitled "The Treatment Process"), now held in the MRC secret files on ME at the National Archive, Kew, and closed not for the customary 30 years but for the unusually lengthy period of 73 years

3. "Microbes, Mental Illness, The Media and ME - The Construction of Disease". Simon Wessely; 9th Eliot Slater Memorial Lecture, Institute of Psychiatry, 12th May 1994 (transcript and Wessely's own working notes)

4. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Report of a Joint Working Group of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Psychiatrists and General Practitioners; Royal Society of Medicine (CR54), October 1996

5. "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Occupational Health"; A Mountstephen & M Sharpe; Occupational Medicine 1997:47:4:217-227

6. "ME. What do we know - real physical illness or all in the mind?" Lecture given in October 1999 by Michael Sharpe, hosted by the University of Strathclyde (transcript)

7. BMJ 2011:343:d4589

8. Journal of Internal Medicine: Accepted Article: doi:10.1111/j.1365- 2796.2011.02428.x

9. JRSM 1991:84:118-121

Competing interests: I am a long term advocate for people with ME and have published and lectured extensively on their plight and the injustices they and their carers have suffered as a conseqence of the deeply flawed ideological views of some psychiatrists and the Government agencies that have persistently denied or ignored the massive volume of peer-reviewed, published biomedical evidence.

Published 28 July 2011

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tabernacle Cardiff Summer Conference – Live!

The Tabernacle Cardiff has it’s annual Summer Conference this week and this year there is the bonus of live streaming of all the sessions, which is great for those of us unable to attend in person. The speakers during the week are Roland Burrows (Birmingham), Vernon Higham (Cardiff), Alan McNabb (Stafford), Peter Masters (London) and Jack Seaton (Inverness). The regular Sunday services and midweek Bible study from the Tabernacle Cardiff are also available to watch live.

Also, the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London had it’s annual School of Theology earlier this month with the theme being “Personal Ministry and Church Leadership”. The meetings were not streamed live, but they were all recorded and should be available shortly on CDs and DVDs. For further details see -

I don’t think that there can ever be a good time to be unable to attend church for any length of time – but nowdays, for those of us in such a situation, there is no need to miss out on good teaching. We are greatly blessed and helped by having sermons and services available on CDs, DVDs, MP3 downloads and, in some cases, live online.  There are many thousands of sermons freely available online from individual church websites and sites such as

Friday, 22 July 2011

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria

Bruce M Carruthers MD, CM, FRCP(C) (coeditor), Marjorie I van de Sande BEd, GradDip Ed (coeditor), Kenny L De Meirleir MD, PhD, Nancy G Klimas MD, Gordon Broderick PhD, Terry Mitchell MA, MD, FRCPath, Don Staines MBBS, MPH, FAFPHM, FAFOEM, AC Peter Powles MRACP, FRACP, FRCP(C), ABSM, Nigel Speight MA, MB, BChir, FRCP, FRCPCH, DCH, Rosamund Vallings MNZM, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, Lucinda Bateman MS, MD, Barbara Baumgarten-Austrheim MD, David S Bell MD, FAAP, Nicoletta Carlo-Stella MD, PhD, John Chia MD, Austin Darragh MA, MD, FFSEM. (RCPI, RCSI), FRSHFI Biol I (Hon), Daehyun Jo MD, PhD, Don Lewis MD, Alan R Light PhD, Sonya Marshall-Gradisbik PhD, Ismael Mena MD, Judy A Mikovits PhD, Kunihisa Miwa MD, PhD, Modra Murovska MD, PhD, Martin L Pall PhD, Staci Stevens MA

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02428.


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). Consequently, an International Consensus Panel consisting of clinicians, researchers, teaching faculty and an independent patient advocate was formed with the purpose of developing criteria based on current knowledge. Thirteen countries and a wide range of specialties were represented. Collectively, members have approximately 400 years of both clinical and teaching experience, authored hundreds of peer reviewed publications, diagnosed or treated approximately 50,000 ME patients, and several members coauthored previous criteria. The expertise and experience of the panel members as well as PubMed and other medical sources were utilized in a progression of suggestions/drafts/reviews/revisions. The authors, free of any sponsoring organization, achieved 100% consensus through a Delphi type process.

The scope of this paper is limited to criteria of ME and their application. Accordingly, the criteria reflect the complex symptomatology. Operational notes enhance clarity and specificity by providing guidance in the expression and interpretation of symptoms. Clinical and research application guidelines promote optimal recognition of ME by primary physicians and other health care providers, improve consistency of diagnoses in adult and paediatric patients internationally, and facilitate clearer identification of patients for research studies.

(You can download the document from

Please see also -
Science Versus Psychiatry – Again (22 July 2011)
Malcolm Hooper and Margaret Williams

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The PACE study "A Travesty of Science and a Tragedy for people with ME"

The Petition

The published paper of the PACE trial study into ME is a “Travesty of Science and a Tragedy for people with ME”

In light of the knowledge that the study has now been exposed as seriously flawed - in that it did not actually study people with ME - we the undersigned demand that the authors withdraw the paper with immediate effect.

In an unprecedented move the PACE trial was part funded by the Department of Work and Pensions. With final costs now reported to be between £4 and £5 million and a time scale of 8 years to complete it cannot be said to be a “value for money” exercise. The survey outcome has influenced the guidelines for ME produced by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence), the ME services determined by BACME (British Association for CFS ME) and benefit support by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions).

This petition will be presented to the Editor of the Lancet, the DWP, the MRC, the APPG for ME and as many MPs that we can identify who have an interest in ME.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Songs In The Night

Over the past year or so I have posted a few poems from the book “Echoes Of Eternity” by Michael R Abbott. He has now produced a second book called “Songs In The Night”. The Preface to the new book is as follows -

“This book contains a collection of poems written over a period of about 25 years. They are all capable of being sung and some suggested tunes are provided at the back of the book. However, it is hoped that they will also be of blessing to those who simply wish to read them. The greatest benefit will be gained by reading the given text or portion from the Bible before reading the poem.
“To say that this is a selection of modern hymns would be true, but at the same time misleading. They are unashamedly written in the style of our old hymns, in rhyming metre and with themes that are drawn from the scriptures themselves.”

I particularly like the following poem, which shares it’s title with the book; used with permission.

Songs In The Night

When darkness pervades
And evils unite,
When troubles disturb
And terrors affright,
He pierces the shadow
With glorious light
And gives to His children
Sweet songs in the night.

When comforts desert
And foes strong assail,
When bodily strength
And health start to fail,
The promise of Scripture
Is ours as by right:
That He gives His children
Sweet songs in the night.

In dungeon or cell,
Though beaten and sore,
Bereft of all hope,
Abandoned and poor;
The Lord sees from heaven
The sufferer’s plight,
And gives to His children
Sweet songs in the night.

The midnight draws near
And sin does abound,
But soon, o’er the earth,
A trumpet shall sound.
Till then let us follow
By faith, not by sight,
For He gives His children
Sweet songs in the night.

Job 35.10