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BMJ Rapid Response: Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a meme? 18 June 2014

adreno

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I think you could argue that CFS is a meme but its one spreading ignorance amongst the medical profession. Its not spread through families but through medical schools. And it encourages believers like Newton and Collings to attack patients or for believers to block research proposals so there beliefs are not challenged. It encourages believing doctors to cause repeated harm to patients with GET despite countless reports of bad side effects.

The problem is the believers in the CFS are willing to believe the poorest quality research, obvious manipulation of results such as PACE and fail to acknowledge other research looking at cause. They created the CFS name for their meme.

The CFS meme is not new we have seen it with MS, Asthma, parkinsons etc. Its a meme of not accepting we don't understand everything whilst believing that people should be able to control physical effects with their minds. Its irrational but too many doctors believe it.
So in this case, CFS is really just a sub-meme of the BPS model parent meme. In other words, the article is a facet of the BPS model meme. Like Sasha says, this is the great irony here.
 
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barbc56

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Maybe , hopefully, someday, this mind set will be an Urban Legend.:)

ETA Just saw this was written in 2004. Makes me a bit more hopeful things have changed albeit not enough.
 
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Firestormm

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Maybe , hopefully, someday, this mind set will be an Urban Legend.:)

ETA Just saw this was written in 2004. Makes me a bit more hopeful things have changed albeit not enough.
No. The original editorial from Professor Peter White 'What causes CFS?' was written in 2004. The above is a response to it, posted online TODAY - 18 June 2014. Unfortunately :( :bang-head:
 

Dolphin

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I don't have the time myself but describing the attitude that "the condition is treatable with exercise" as a meme could make an interesting comparison to what they have written. And has the benefit that they would likely be annoyed by it. Don't have time to do one myself at the moment.
 
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Scarecrow

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I'm almost speechless. Almost.

This does seem to be sadly typical of the mind set of some (most?) of those who work in NHS services in the UK. It accords all too well with the experience I had a few years ago at the Infectious Diseases Unit at the Edinburgh Western General (a.k.a the fatigue clinic for psychosomatic illness if they would just be more honest about it).

Apparently, according to my consultant:
  • pacing is harmful. Yes, folks, you read that right; it wasn't a mistype.

  • 90% of the patients who attend the clinic consider themselves recoverd. Yes 90%. No, that wasn't a mistype either. But before you rush along to your G.P. to request a referral to this wonderful centre of excellence, I'm afraid to report to you that I didn't ask her for the evidence of their amazing results. I was too busy picking up the shattered pieces of my jaw off the floor at the bare-faced shame of it.
Then again, thinking about it now, I wonder if both of those statements may not have been memes . ;)

I note that the authors of the response letter left themselves an awful lot of wriggle room, else I might of wondered 'so how come I developed the symptoms of what was later to be recognised as M.E. if I hadn't even heard of such a condition? Was it a magic meme or some kind of stealth meme?' But oh no, the authors cleverly anticipated my point:

It seems unlikely that memes alone account for the aetiology of CFS: quite likely many factors combine to bring about the condition.
So memes can account for the aetiology of CFS............ but so can anything else that expediently comes to mind and suits your own faulty belief about someone else's illness.
 
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I would treat this 'response' with deep caution - firstly David Newton has been involved with biomedical research into CFS - http://www.meassociation.org.uk/201...ional-journal-of-cardiology-10-november-2011/ and it's pretty unlikely that someone in an NHS CFS service would write in those terms, whatever they believed about patients or the illness. Anthony Denis COLLINGS appears on the GMC list as a specialist in General and Geriatric Medicine - and has an entry in Debrets (Linkedin in for posh people !) http://www.debretts.com/people-of-today/profile/11412/Anthony-Denis-COLLINGS. which gives him working at Southnd Hospital, however he is no longer on that hospital's consultant list http://www.southend.nhs.uk/about-us/meet-the-team/consultant-list/ . As according to the Debret's entry Collings would now be 68 he may well have retired. My guess is that neither Newton or Collings has anything to do with the response to the BMJ.
 

Dolphin

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I would treat this 'response' with deep caution - firstly David Newton has been involved with biomedical research into CFS - http://www.meassociation.org.uk/201...ional-journal-of-cardiology-10-november-2011/
I'm 99.9% sure that's a different David Newton. That's David Newton works in Scotland with ME Research UK and isn't a physiotherapist: http://www.meresearch.org.uk/about-us/meet-the-team/ .

There's a David Newton who works in the CFS service in Essex http://www.therapy-directory.org.uk/therapists/david-newton as has been pointed out.
 
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alex3619

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Every cultural idea can be described as a meme - this includes the biopsychosocial model. Calling something a meme doesn't explain anything, or qualify/disqualify the ideas termed memes.
Further, someone could write a reply article. Describe BPS as a meme, or something. What makes ME or CFS(CCC) different is hard objective evidence. That is lacking for every single psychosomatic diagnosis.
 

Sean

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As according to the Debret's entry Collings would now be 68 he may well have retired.
...and developed a nasty case of Relevance Deprivation Syndrome, for which, paradoxically, the cure is to ignore the patient's demands to be taken seriously.

(You see what I did there? :whistle: )
 
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I'm 99.9% sure that's a different David Newton. That's David Newton works in Scotland with ME Research UK and isn't a physiotherapist: http://www.meresearch.org.uk/about-us/meet-the-team/ .

There's a David Newton who works in the CFS service in Essex http://www.therapy-directory.org.uk/therapists/david-newton as has been pointed out.
You are right - my apologies to the two David Newtons for confusing them. I still think the BMJ RR is of dubious authorship, why would a Consultant in geriatrics and a Physiotherapist collaborate on a bizarre interpretaion of meme theory in response to a ten year old article ? If the intent were to have been less malicious I think authorship would have been L E Phant or something similar; if it really is genuine I think I'd be concerned about the health of the author(s).
 

Firestormm

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The Echo

Clinic helps people like Margaret cope with ME

25 May 2010

....As well as seeing consultant physician Dr Tony Collings at the clinic, Margaret has also received help from a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist and is now walking unaided and beginning to recover some energy. She is hoping she will eventually be able to do a few hours of work each week.

Dr Collings said the condition – which typically affects high achievers and people with obsessional personalities – is still stigmatised.

He said:“It is difficult for other people to accept because there is nothing to see. But it is very real and can be quite devastating in its effects. It affects all ages, but is most common in late middle age, and affects more women than men. Although some patients manage to hold down a job, others are totally bed-bound and need full-time care.”
Last item I could find about Dr Collings and the Essex CFS/ME Clinic on Google.
 
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Not bad. £1 per minute for a 45 minute session. Damn and I used to think bankers were well paid ;)
Less rent, less business rates, less cleaning and hygene services, less medical insurance, less standard business overheads - I'd say even on a full patient list which is almost impossible to achieve - top end school teacher salary would be equivalent rather than Banker. NHS physios earn no where near that. Any reason that this particualar physiotherapist should be singled out, or are all the UK's physios somehow objectionable ?
 

Firestormm

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Less rent, less business rates, less cleaning and hygene services, less medical insurance, less standard business overheads - I'd say even on a full patient list which is almost impossible to achieve - top end school teacher salary would be equivalent rather than Banker. NHS physios earn no where near that. Any reason that this particualar physiotherapist should be singled out, or are all the UK's physios somehow objectionable ?
Only that he's the chap in who apparently wrote the article and is 'treating' with CBT and whilst I don't deny some skill involved - I was surprised at the charge. Other than that no, not really. I am not familiar with the costings of NHS contractors. Whereas - as a former banker - I felt I was able to make a somewhat self-deriding comment.
 
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