Dr David Tuller: Null Outcomes Presented as Success in Yet Another CBT Trial from Prof Trudie Chalder


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Trial By Error: Null Outcomes Presented as Success in Yet Another CBT Trial from Prof Trudie Chalder
19 June 2021 by David Tuller

By David Tuller, DrPH

Trudie Chalder, a professor of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) at King’s College London, has recently published yet another high-profile paper: the main results for “efficacy” from a trial of CBT for patients with so-called “persistent physical symptoms” (PPS) in secondary care. As usual with this group of investigators, things haven’t turned out well. But despite null results for the primary outcome, Professor Chalder and her like-minded colleagues have cast the findings in a positive light in their article, published in Psychological Medicine.
(Psychological Medicine also published the bogus 2013 “recovery” paper from the PACE team; Professor Chalder was one of the three lead investigators for this classic of likely research misconduct, in which participants could get worse on the primary outcomes and still be deemed. to be “recovered.” When I complained to the editors about it a few years ago, I was advised to replicate the PACE trial; instead, I wrote a letter to the journal that demanded an immediate retraction and garnered more than 100 signatories.)

The new study, called the PRINCE Secondary Trial, is separate from another trial of people with persistent physical symptoms in primary care—the PRINCE Primary Trial. Both are part of the ongoing campaign by Professor Chalder and her colleagues to provide an evidentiary base to justify the expansion of psychological services to anyone suffering from PPS, a category also frequently referred to as “medically unexplained symptoms” (MUS). For Professor Chalder and her colleagues, PPS and MUS include chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and pretty much anything else that resists easy clinical assessment and diagnosis and could be inferred to be psychologically driven and/or perpetuated by experts predisposed toward such an interpretation...........