Sunday, February 3, 2013

OUTPACED: The Empire Strikes Back

It can't be mere coincidence that the day before the FDA was scheduled to make its decision on Ampligen, the PACE group published the results of its lengthy study on treatments for CFS.

The study, published in 
Psychological Medicine on February 1 2013,  compared the effectiveness of four different types of treatment: 1) adding cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to specialist medical care, 2) adding graded exercise therapy (GET) to specialist medical care, 3) adding adaptive pacing therapy to specialized medican care, and 4) specialized medical care alone. It should not have come as a surprise that the study confirmed "that recovery from CFS is possible, and that CBT and GET are the therapies most likely to lead to recovery."

The PACE study, of course, proved nothing of the kind. Even a quick perusal of the methods used to determine the cohort, the absurdity of the statistical analysis, and the complete lack of a viable definition of "recovery" should undermine any conclusions that this study purported to make.

Unfortunately, the mere existence of a study with even a whiff of bogus science (and institutional backing) is enough to provide fodder for those who will do anything, say anything, and invent anything, to prevent CFS and ME from being considered organic illnesses. The reason for this is clear. If Ampligen is approved, then all arguments about whether CFS and ME are psychological or physical will cease.

As far as insurance companies are concerned, that is a terrifying prospect. This is a complex illness, perhaps the most complex the world has ever seen. The costs of actually treating CFS and ME, as opposed to having its victims take a daily stroll, or chat with a counselor about their misguided "illness beliefs," would be staggering. There can be no doubt that the possibility of bankrupting insurance companies is what is foremost in the minds of the FDA committee as they weigh the "safety" of Ampligen.

Standing up against the machinery of what we call our "health care" system is what Bob Miller is currently attempting. I only hope that the tanks don't roll over him ... and all the rest of us as well.

1 comment:

  1. The authors of this PACE trial study are using a deceptive trick to get their apparently good results.

    These researchers concluded in the abstract of their PACE study that:

    "This study confirms that recovery from CFS is possible, and that CBT and GET are the therapies most likely to lead to recovery."

    However, these authors are distorting the truth by using trickery of language centered on the word "recovery."

    Their deceptive trick is this: these authors redefine the meaning of the word "recovery" within body of the text of their study, so that, under this new meaning of the term "recovery," many ME/CFS can be said to be, ahem, "recovered" following the GET/CBT therapies used in the PACE trial.

    However, if you only read the study's abstract, there is no indication that the word "recovery" used therein has been totally redefined by the authors, and thus the casual reader will erroneously assume that the word "recovery" just carries its normal English meaning, which in the dictionary is defined as "a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength."

    Thus many people causally reading this PACE study authored by White, Goldsmith, Johnson, Chalder and Sharpe will be led to erroneously believe that GET/CBT therapies can return a ME/CFS to a normal state of health, which is not the case at all.

    This deceptive trick used by the authors is a case scientific misconduct.

    If you are going to redefine your terms and the words you use, you need to make sure that the precise definitions of these terms are clearly given, so that there can be no misinterpretations.

    It seems apparent that the authors of this PACE study actually want their completely redefined word "recovery" to be misinterpreted. Thus, this is not a mistake by the PACE study authors, but is deliberately deceptive.

    Busy doctors, who may only have time to scan study abstracts, may read this PACE study abstract, and then get the completely incorrect impression that the GET/CBT therapies used in the PACE trial can actually cure ME/CFS, which they cannot at all.


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