Friday, August 12, 2011

European ME Alliance's Letter to the The Times regarding Stefanie Marsh’s poorly researched, inaccurate and misleading homage to Prof Simon Wessely

The Chair and Board of The European ME Alliance:

EMEA Letter to the UK Newspaper The Times 09 August 2011


There were so many erroneous statements in Stefanie Marsh’s poorly researched, inaccurate and misleading homage to Professor Simon Wessely (The Times, 6 August 2011) that it is difficult to highlight just one for correction.

Marsh allows Wessely to publicise his extremist views about a neurological illness, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), without showing any awareness, let alone understanding of the disease itself or of the horrendous situation in which ME patients find themselves.

The European ME Alliance (EMEA) wish, therefore, to highlight just one comment made by Wessely where he claims that ME does not exist in Spain or Italy (EMEA is a grouping of national ME patient groups and charities from eleven European countries - including Spain and Italy). EMEA have performed some quick research on this and it is quite easy to lay bare Wessely’s comments.

In the link below (from our web site) there are details of research which disprove Wessely’s comment and surely bury Marsh’s risible statement that Wessely is “Britain’s foremost authority on ME” – a statement which surely patients and patient groups in the UK and Europe would disagree with. The reality is actually more disturbing. In order to expand both Marsh’s and Wessely’s knowledge about ME we have also added some research references from Switzerland, France and Greece.

This is all on top of the existing biomedical research base in UK, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. The research references can be found at European ME Alliance - EMEA Response to The Times ME Articles

The appallingly superficial article by Marsh is something that we believe this reporter will eventually be ashamed of.

Surely a more worthy subject to be investigated would have been any conflict of interest which Wessely and his colleagues may have with their roles in assisting the DWP to reduce benefits for sick and vulnerable people, or their employment by the insurance industry or government departments, or in influencing the Science Media Centre and the MRC policies.

Why not look at the patients' view instead - something the Times editors regularly fail to do? Yet we doubt that the Times editorial staff are up to such a task. This current inaccurate article joins a recent list of poorly written pieces in the Times/Sunday Times supposedly about ME - all showing a lack of rigour and journalistic discipline which really ought to be of concern to the public and the newspapers’ owners,

Yours Sincerely,

The Chair and Board of The European ME Alliance

See also: Exchange on Twitter between Mrs Simon Wessely and the Health Editor of the Times which shows that the old boy network of ignoring clinical evidence is more important than the lives of thousands of severely disabled people See also: More psycho crap from the Times, this time from David Aaronovitch who can't be bothered to read the biomedical evidence that ME is a severely disabling infectious, neurological disease See also: More psychiatric masturbation in The Times

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