nasim marie jafry said,
March 22, 2011 at 11:57 am
I’m having real difficulties commenting here & am beginning to feel like a stalker, has been suggested that links can result in being spammed so I’ll leave my links out & try again. I agree about primary sources being hugely important, but what happens when the press release(s) and the original research paper are seriously flawed?
I refer, of course, to the recent PACE trial, published in The Lancet, which resulted in sensational newspaper headlines like ‘ME cured by exercise’ across the internet.
The Science Media Centre was responsible for releasing misleading information on ME to health editors who then – irresponsibly – parroted this misinformation across the globe.
The reality is that the PACE trial (funded by the MRC and DWP) conflated the neurological illness ME with ‘chronic fatigue’ and depression, but there’s no mention of this anywhere.
All that will have stuck in readers’ minds is ‘ME cured by counselling and exercise’. So even if you had linked to the primary sources, the truth is being obscured.
Patients with ME haven’t actually been helped, and readers have been spectacularly misled. So unless a journalist has a special interest in ME and an enquiring mind, obfuscation reigns.
There has been resounding condemnation of the PACE results, and the ME Association has written to the Science Media Centre complaining about the censoring of information about ME in its press release. There are links on my latest blog post if anyone is interested.
See also: PACE trial results are out: ME is caused by an oncogenic virus or The putative agent of ME/CFS can be transferred to monkeys or Professor of Psychology, Rhona Johnston shows that ME/CFS is NOT a psychological condition (on a UK Government website !!!) … a MUST READ