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Dr David Tuller: Trial By Error: A Sneak Preview of Next Week’s Post


Senior Member

Trial By Error: A Sneak Preview of Next Week’s Post
27 DECEMBER 2017
By David Tuller, DrPH

I wanted to post something this week, but not a whole long thing. So I thought I’d just post the top of what I’ll post in full next week.

This week ends the first half–six months!–of my crowdfunded project. Sometime soon I’ll post something or other looking backward and forward a bit. But not today.


In August, I posted a critical analysis of a 2011 study by Professor Esther Crawley. The article, published in BMJ Open, was called “Unidentified Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a major cause of school absence: surveillance outcomes from school-based clinics.”

The BMJ Open paper included an “article summary,” a sort of layperson’s abstract next to the actual abstract. This summary explained the study’s “hypothesis” and “research question”:

“Hypothesis: many children with CFS/ME remain undiagnosed and untreated, despite evidence that treatment is effective in children.”

“Research question: are school-based clinics a feasible way to identify children with CFS/ME and offer treatment?”

The methods section described the intervention as “a pilot clinical service” created “to try and improve school attendance.” In other words, this initiative did not assess or evaluate the actual care already being provided in either school-based clinics or in a specialized CFS/ME clinic.