Dr David Tuller: Cochrane Update and Caroline Struther's Latest Letter


Senior Member
Trial By Error: Cochrane Update, and Caroline Struthers’ Latest Letter
20 FEBRUARY 2019
By David Tuller, DrPH
The situation at Cochrane appears to remain fluid. Last week, the organization posted a notice that it is seeking a new editor-in-chief. The current occupant of the position, Dr David Tovey, is leaving the position in May. Dr Tovey has been at Cochrane for a decade, so this move could easily have been a long-planned departure.
Since last year at least, Dr Tovey has been grappling with the fate of the contested review of exercise treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome, as Cochrane has called the illness. The announcement of this change comes while the situation with the exercise review is still uncertain. So is the overall disposition of the illness within Cochrane, which has housed it in the Common Mental Disorders section. Perhaps Dr Tovey will be able to set matters on a more fruitful path before he takes his leave.
To recap: The Cochrane review of exercise therapy was last updated in 2014. Last year, Cochrane had determined that concerns raised about the review were legitimate, and Dr Tovey decided that it should be temporarily withdrawn while the authors revised it. That move was pre-empted in October by biased news coverage that failed to examine the many scientific and methodological deficiencies of the exercise review; instead, the coverage portrayed Cochrane as buckling under pressure from irrational, anti-scientific patients.