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Greenwashing Part Two

Blog entry posted by alex3619, Sep 10, 2012.

Go To Part One

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Walker discusses the origins of the definitions of CFS, and briefly mentions that two ME experts refused to sign the document that led to the Holmes et. al. definition of CFS, as the history of ME was being ignored. (p. 156) He goes on to discuss the development of the Fukuda and Oxford defitions.

"In order to re-distribute power or change social meaning, it is not enough to simply change the names of things or even change the language; you have to condition subjects into accepting the reality of the changed situation." (p. 161)

Walker claims that Wessely and Caroline Richmond began to do this in 1985, three years prior to the Holmes definition of CFS. ME patients were "malingerers" and ME had "no organic cause". Wessely wrote the papers, Caroline Richmond gave them maximum publicity, according to Walker.

If a supposed CFS patient refuses to submit to psychiatric testing (presumably in the UK), then they could be suffering from PRS or Pervasive Refusal Syndrome. (p. 171) However, Walker thinks this is a violation of human rights. He then goes on to discuss other psychiatric diagnoses and this leads into a discussion of methods used to control or limit questioning of these psychiatric diagnoses, both in the UK and USA.

From the mid 90s and through much of the next decade there were a series of reports that evaluated CFS in the UK and Australia. He then goes on to discuss criticisms of these reports, including these two quotes from Dr. Peter del Fante on the Australian CFS guidelines:

"... This only confirms the perceived lack of professionalism and integrity in creating a balanced and unbiased set of guidelines for CFS."

"CBTdoes not treat the underlying (as yet unidentified) disease process in CFS." (p. 193)


Political Change

The 1996 joint report from the Royal Colleges appeared to be heavily biased toward psychogenic explanations, and this led to a petition that was presented by the Countess of Mar to the Minister for State for Health. It was called "Fighting for Truth" and had 12500 signatures. It was rejected. These events led to a major shift in mood amongst ME and CFS patients and advocates. Trust had been broken.

In 1998 the Chief Medical Officers Working Group was formed to address some of these issues. It was the beginning of the current trend in activism in the UK. Sally Montague and Malcolm Hooper began to address these issues with a paper criticising the CMO Working Group. A reply to Hooper invoked mention of the Official Secrets Act. The CMOs report affirmed that there should be only limited biomedical investigations into ME, which set the stage for denial of testing. Hooper was also then subject to legal threats which Walker claims were designed to silence opposition to Health Watch members, and alter the terms of debate.

Walker later makes the point that those giving evidence at an enquiry should be completely separate from those taking evidence.

Walker goes on to discuss psychiatry in terms I agree with (p. 236): "Psychiatry is not an exact science, it is not even a science; it does not depend on verifiable quantitative material or laboratory results. Any psychiatric diagnosis is an interpretation, and as such is often skewed to fit the view of an individual doctor whose judgement is affected by prevailing commercial, cultural and ideological influences."

Walker concludes the book with the following sentence (p. 266): "Until someone holds an authoritative inquiry into the condition of patients and the motives of researchers, the British public will be left to the mercy of corporate interests and those who act consciously or unconsciously as their agents."

Walker has addressed more of these issues in later writing, including "Dirty Medicine: The Handbook" and "Cultural Dwarfs and Junk Journalism". (This last link is to a downloadable book).

On To Part Three
Ren, heapsreal and GracieJ like this.
alex3619

About the Author

I am a long term ME patient with many complications. While I have pushed research advocacy since 1993, I became political around 2009. My current project is a book called "Embracing Uncertainty". Uncertainty in medical science seems anathema to too many doctors. "I do not know" is something more doctors should be honest about.
  1. alex3619
    On Health Watch. sometimes its necessary to ask if the people who are against poor medical claims are actually in support of poor medical claims. The top diagnoses for my list of non diseases are all psychogenic, including somatization. NO objective evidence shows their existence. Where are the definitive biomarkers?
  2. Ren
    "Caroline Richmond" was a new name for me. I found the following info (see link) about her and so will share, should others be interested:

    http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/Caroline_Richmond_Deja_vu.htm

    Thanks, Alex for discussing Walker - and this sad, shameful history.
  3. alex3619
    Hi Jarod, the dates do not escape me. Nor does the fact that a major legislative challenge failed just prior to that. Its a confluence of events that drove things toward political rather than scientific decision making. It also does not escape me that this was when the notion of economic rationalism was gaining dominance. Bye, Alex
  4. Jarod
    Interesting research Alex. One part in particular caught my attention. About the deliberate efforts around 1985 to push through these beliefs

    --------

    "In order to re-distribute power or change social meaning, it is not enough to simply change the names of things or even change the language; you have to condition subjects into accepting the reality of the changed situation." (p. 161)

    Walker claims that Wessely and Caroline Richmond began to do this in 1985, three years prior to the Holmes definition of CFS. ME patients were "malingerers" and ME had "no organic cause". Wessely wrote the papers, Caroline Richmond gave them maximum publicity, according to Walker.

    ---------

    The 1985 date corresponds to when many people first got sick here in California, and on the east coast when Bell and others got involved.

    The interesting thing is, our illness affects memory and other types of complex reasoning. In essence, makes it more difficult to put the puzzle together. Isn't it convienient that there were outbreaks in the 80's that corresponded with the concerted effort to impose their psyhichiatric Juijitsu balony on us.

    Kind of makes it easier to impose this psychiatric non-sense on everybody if we have certain forms of cognitive dysfunction.

    Of course they try and profit from their newly fabricated psychologized balony by puppeteering the FDA and various government agencies.

    Puppeteering that leads to about every disease under the sun having a psychological component and requiring a good healthy dose of flouride spiked prozac.