2011-07-29 17:18:19Climate Scientists not the only ones receiving threats
Paul D


ME researchers in the UK get death threats and abusive mail:


In particular those that are researching the psychological basis of the problem. Can't find anything more substantial, although it is a big item on BBC radio news today.

2011-07-29 18:11:52


Obviously I don't agree with abusive behavior, but I can understand the annoyance of certain patients diagnosed with this condition.  In the 80s and 90s ME (also know as Chronic Fatigue syndrome) become a dumping ground for conditions it was easier to diagnose as an ongoing psychological problem. 

Whilst I have no doubt many patients diagnosed did have purely psychological problems, and we all developed them on top of the physical ones, many people simply became more ill due to the frustration with the medical professions attitude to this, and this merely reinforced psychiatrists views.  Personally I only improved after stopping exercising, although I was rather different since I needed little encouragement to stay active and working anyway.  I still have bitter recriminations from this period.  

The view of a clinical Psychologist in a lecture I recently attended is that the patient can become as much of an expert on their own body as the Physician in chronic conditions such as this, since many people react differently to interventions. 

Note also that Wesley's view of ME differs from the WHO classification

Contrasting viewpoints among CFS experts became apparent in 1993, when psychiatrists David and Wessely contested the WHO classification of CFS under diseases of the nervous system, arguing that it was a form of neurasthenia to be classified as a psychiatric condition.[141]

I also was in contact with one of the most respected professionals during this period who comments on this episode. 

Dr Charles Shepherd, medical adviser to the ME Association, said that personal intimidation was both "unacceptable" and "counter-productive".

"It puts good researchers off, there's no doubt about that," he told Sarah Montague.

But putting the anger "into context", Dr Shepherd explained how the medical profession had re-defined the illness to include a "wider spectrum" of conditions and triggers.

"There may be a psychological input to the illness in some people... but the anger, the frustration, is the fact that all this government funding has just been going to [researching] the psychological side."

He added that until different sub-groups had been explored properly, a cure could not be found.

"I don't want to see scientists leaving the field, I want a debate with scientists... it should be conducted through the medical journals, it should be conducted through constructive criticism. Intimidation and personal abuse has no role to play in this whatsoever."