Monday, January 31, 2011

Invest in ME Statement regarding MRC Funding of more silly Research into so called ME/CFS

Invest in ME,

The MRC has recently announced its intention to allocate £1.5 million for ME research [1].

"As part of its continuing commitment to the area, the MRC will be making available up to £1.5M for new research into the mechanisms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)."

Whilst any money which would be ring-fenced for ME research is to be welcome it is not yet at all clear what type of research is going to be accepted. For years patients and their carers have been calling for biomedical research into causation to be funded for ME. So far all the funding has gone into the behavioural model of ME which the vested interests of the psychiatric lobby have orchestrated.

The MRC have been criticised in the past for not funding biomedical research into ME – and for squandering over £5 million on the ludicrous PACE trials.

This criticism has been justified. The recent response to Professor Malcolm Hooper [2] is evidence that this criticism has not been addressed properly.

The actual announcement made by the MRC describes their new priorities for research as being -

Autonomic dysfunction (malfunction of the nervous system)
Cognitive symptoms
Immune dysregulation (e.g. through viral infection)
Sleep disorder

Most of these priorities seem to be symptoms and we wonder if this isn’t being set up specifically to allow the psychiatrist lobby to continue to control the research agenda.

Nothing in the MRC announcement seems to highlight or describe an overarching strategy of research for ME.

The crucial statement seems to be this -

"The aim is to promote new and innovative partnerships between researchers already working in the CFS/ME field and those in associated areas, such as pain and fatigue.

The aim is also to encourage and support more high-quality CFS/ME research proposals”.

This would seem to be an alarming statement if the intention is to limit the funding only to those who are already working with Chronic Fatigue (essentially to those whom the MRC has previously funded or who have been selected to be included in this expert panel).

Rather than specifying “pain and fatigue” we would have preferred the statement to highlight virology and immunology.

Rather than ... Read more>>

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