25 February 2011
Today The Times has printed an edited version of a letter from Sir Peter Spencer, sent to them earlier this week.
The edited version focuses on pointing out that the PACE Trial did not compare psychological treatments with pharmacological ones, and that the treatments that were looked at did not offer any sort of cure.
Below is the full version:
Sir, I am surprised and appalled that the Times has published such an inaccurate and misguided article as that written by Patrick Strudwick,(ME: Lightning cure of flash in the pan?", February 22)".
The PACE trial, published in The Lancet, did not compare psychological treatments with pharmacological ones. All participants received specialist medical care, which involves the prescribing of medicines to help with symptoms such as insomnia and pain, according to the patient’s needs.
What the trial did compare was cognitive behaviour therapy, adaptive pacing, graded exercise with specialist medical care alone. It found all four approaches to be moderately effective in helping people who were not so ill that they were bedbound. None of the treatments available offered any sort of cure.
It is inaccurate and misleading, therefore, to say psychological therapies were found to be more effective – and deeply insulting to suggest, as Mr Strudwick does, that people so disabled that they have lost everything to this illness, just need to be a bit more determined to get better.
Tell that to the two year old diagnosed with M.E.
PS. Esther Rantzen's adult daughter, Emily Wilcox, whom Mr Strudwick cited, was not in fact cured by the positive thinking programme he is promoting but has recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease, not M.E.
Sir Peter Spencer
Action for M.E.