By Caroline Lavender, 26 Nov 2012, telegraph.co.uk:
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The Independent: British psychiatrist Professor Simon Wessely should be stripped of an award, fellow scientists said last night
SANCHEZ MANNING, SUNDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2012, The Independent:
A British psychiatrist should be stripped of an award, fellow scientists said last night, as one of the most heated debates in medical science continued.
Professor Simon Wessely, one of Britain's foremost experts on ME, won the John Maddox Standing up for Science honour earlier this month. The prize was created by the journal Nature and the charitable trust Sense about Science. It was given to Professor Wessely for "courage" in speaking out about his studies into ME in the face a prolonged hate campaign and death threats. The Chinese science writer Fang Shi-min shared the award.
But critics protested against the decision last night. They said the professor's work perpetuates the idea that myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is a mental health problem, trivialising what they claim is a largely physical illness. Malcolm Hooper, emeritus professor of medicinal chemistry at Sunderland University, said: "He's responsible for trying to make ME into a psychiatric condition when it's not. He has done very poor science."
Another opponent, the Countess of Mar, said: "I was absolutely horrified when I read he'd won the award and I would like to see it retracted."
Dr William Weir, a retired consultant physician who says ME is caused by a chronic viral infection, called the decision "almost satirical". "If the scientific data is properly examined it will be seen that Professor Wessely's doctrine is wrong and it will be proved to be wrong in about five years' time," he said.