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.

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