« Saturday Music Post: Éirinn go Brách - Part One, Rebels and Martyrs: | Main | Trump Law Redux »

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Update: Monbiot on ME/CFS

Last week, I posted a short summary of British columnist George Monbiot's important essay in The Guardian on the mistreatment of ME/CFS patients in the UK. He was especially critical of a coterie of revanchist psychiatrists who have refused to abandon their psychogenic model, despite its repudiation, over the past decade, by leading health authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. Oxford's Michael Sharpe came in for especially pointed censure, as explained by Monbiot, 

But some people never give up. Despite an overwhelming weight of evidence, the old believers, including Sharpe and Wessely, have continued to try to justify their model. . . . Protected by powerful friends in the media, they could breathe life into their hypothesis long after it had been debunked. The new evidence-led thinking has yet to penetrate parts of the health system: some patients are still being mistreated.

Sharpe has now petulantly replied in a letter to the editor, writing, 

George Monbiot appears to confuse the doctor paying attention to a patient’s fears and emotions with dismissing their illness as somehow “unreal”. I suggest such a view is ill-informed and likely to be unhelpful for patients with any illness.

This is an extraordinarily disingenuous response. Without acknowledging his changed position, Sharpe has gone from claiming that Cognitive Behavior Therapy can "reverse" ME/CFS, which he attributed to "unhelpful illness beliefs," to the anodyne position that he has merely been "paying attention to a patient's fears and emotions," as he evidently recommends for "any illness." And though he has never called ME/CFS "unreal," he has repeatedly termed it an "illness without disease" (to which David Tuller and I replied here), while discouraging biomedical research.

One might think that an Oxford psychiatrist would recognize defensiveness and rationalization, and refusal to admit error, but evidently not. To paraphrase the great physicist Max Planck, science advances one retirement at a time.


Posted by Steve Lubet on March 17, 2024 at 06:15 PM | Permalink


“…science advances one retirement at a time.

The Laws Of Nature exist in relationship, and , although it is true that our understanding of Science is evolving with Time, The Laws Of Nature remain the same.

“The non-invasive Raman-based test characterizes features of blood cells known as peripheral blood mononuclear cells, or PBMCs, that are unique to those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.Oct 13, 2023

Diagnostic test can identify hallmarks of chronic fatigue ...”


Posted by: ND | Mar 18, 2024 9:20:35 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.