• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of, and finding treatments for, complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia, long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To become a member, simply click the Register button at the top right.

Rapid responses BMJ - McClure, Wessely article


Senior Member

Please Remove Defamation of ME Patients 1 July 2010

Justin Reilly,
Reilly Law Firm
Send response to journal:
Re: Please Remove Defamation of ME Patients

Obviously, as has been pointed out quite often, use of the spurious Sharpe 1991 ("Oxford") definition of "CFS" renders a study utterly meaningless, since the Sharpe definition does not define ME/CFIDS, but instead defines idiopathic chronic fatigue, ie tiredness. This renders the Dutch study completely invalid.

That aside, the fact that this study and others had zero xmrv positives should have been a red flag for you!

In light of the confirmation by NIH that NIH and FDA have confirmed the results of the Lombardi paper, I expect you to issue retractions of this study and editorials by Wessely, Godlee, McClure and other "CFS" articles that are facially invalid. As we discussed before, I feel that an action against BMJ for defamation of ME patients would be successful and result in substantial liability for BMJ.

Competing interests: None declared

Re: Please Remove Defamation of ME Patients 3 July 2010

Laurence L. Swift,
retired vet
Send response to journal:
Re: Re: Please Remove Defamation of ME Patients

Justin Reillys brief piece is very much to the point. I stand behind him and his potential legal action against the BMJ. These dodgy papers, produced using the synthetic term CFS, must be retracted, or at least it must be absolutely clear that their use of the term CFS has nothing to do whatsoever with the disease M.E.

ME or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis was defined by Melvin Ramsey in 1956 and the definition remains technically correct today. All the other later phrases and definitions can now be set aside as talking about a different subject, tiredness as Reilly describes it.

Most patients and many doctors and scientists have known all along that a virus was the apparent cause of M.E. With the discovery of the XMRV, this belief has been vindicated, save for a matter of Kochs Postulates which are difficult to prove in cases of diseases where a fair percentage of infected subjects appear quite normal.

This last point, the failure to find any XMRV at all even in that percentage of apparently normal people, was the big clue as to the inadequate laboratory techniques used in these negative studies. The XMRV virus was always going to be difficult to find, otherwise it would have been found long ago. It is very small and very sparse in the blood.

The WPI spent upwards of three years developing their sophisticated techniques. They offered their tests, reagents and control samples, to all the other laboratories. These laboratories spurned the offer, leading to a suspicion amongst the patient groups that they actually wanted to produce negative studies that were dressed up look like real ones by using simple serology and basic PCR testing.

To an outsider like myself, who used to respect the medical profession, it seems incredible that the entire profession isnt clapping their hands and jumping up & down with glee at discovery of the retrovirus. They should all be piling onto the bandwagon and studying hard the clever WPI techniques. They should be pleased that at last there is progress with hopes of treatments or cures. After all, they all pledged the Hippocratic Oath, to put their patients health and wellbeing above all else.

Laurence Swift (retired vet).

Competing interests: None declared


I totally agree with the earlier comments.

Let the good, real science speak for itself.

Why does only one paper have to have further validation and, that paper, produced by an eminent virologist who discovered the Hepatitis C virus. His credentials are unassailable.

Where and whom are the stellar minds of the CDC to compete with this level of ability and to question their findings.

How dare they presume to question the work of Alter, Silverman, Mikovits, Coffin et al, all acknowledged experts in the field of virology/retrovirology.

Let the truth speak.


Senior Member
Sth Australia
Thou the articles are wrong due to confusion of what ME which is also called CFS is and the confusion with idiopathic chronic fatigue .. it greatly concerns me that taking actions against journals like Wall Street Journal, may not end up supporting us and may backfire. We need journals to be on our side, not for them to see us as such a big issue that they actually stop reporting altogether. I worry that we will end up being tabooed and reporting on CFS thrown in the too hard, too confusing basket.

CFS/ME NEEDS publically and Wall Street Journal hasnt been biased, i think they've been quite good to us seeing there is sooo much confusion out there, they are not to know what is right and what is wrong here, they are not medical professions, all they can do is listen to medical professionals and do articles to the best of their ability. It's Wessely who should be being sued!! It's Wessley who gets the wrong info out and makes the journals get it wrong.


Senior Member
Hi Tania - just to clarify, the comments discussed above were directed to BMJ (British Medical Journal, the medical journal that published the McClure/Wessely negative XMRV/CFS study, not WSJ (Wall Street Journal) the newspaper.