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simon wessely vs prof malcolm hooper


iherb 10% discount code OPA989,
australia (brisbane)
I Stole this from another site but i dont think they will mind, its all for the cause.

many of you will not know about the media in the uk, however now for some weeks prof sw has been publishing articles saying we are as bad as animal rights activists and he claims to have had death threats. interesting as he also claimed this from golf war vets a few years ago too

the wonderful malcolm hooper has replied and i thought this would be interesting for all countries to read as it covers some interesting facts regarding our illness

the recent pace trial has caused a lot of problems with peter white now seeming to have the heat taken off of him by simon.

also this coincides with the new international guidelines being published. which has not made the press at all.

Professor Hooper has given permission for this longer article he
submitted to the Observer to be made public:


Observer article about Professor Wesselys allegations of death threats:
Professor Hoopers response

25th August 2011

No right-minded person could condone any campaign of vilification
against scientists (Chronic fatigue syndrome researchers face death
threats from militants; The Observer, Sunday 21st August 2011);
equally, no right-minded person could condone what psychiatrists such
as Professor Wessely have done to the UK ME community for the last 25

No matter what the degree of provocation, it is indefensible to liken
people with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) to the Animal Liberation
Front extremists. This will create a further tidal wave of loathing
against them. It is an inexcusable attack on the whole ME community,
not just on those few people who may have behaved irrationally. It
might be thought that, of all people, psychiatrists would know how to
recognise and deal with unbalanced behaviour instead of exploiting it.

Wessely says he is concerned that such behaviour is putting off
researchers but it is he who is putting them off by his endless
purveying of so much negative publicity about people with ME. He
perpetuates the dismissive, often contemptuous, attitude of many
healthcare professionals toward those with the disease.

The problem is that although these scientists claim to be studying
patients with ME, they are studying people with chronic fatigue (ie.
chronic tiredness) but then claiming that their results apply to those
with ME; this has resulted in a lack of appropriate NHS medical
services for those with ME and in incalculable harm and distress to
patients and their desperate families.

Even though the World Health Organisation has classified ME as a
neurological disorder since 1969, the Wessely School teaches that it
is not a neurological but a psychosocial (behavioural) disorder.

There are about 250,000 ME patients in the UK. By comparison, there
are about 83,000 people in the UK suffering from multiple sclerosis,
yet the far larger numbers of ME patients coping with an equally
serious neurological disorder are not only denied both medical and
social support but are ridiculed, mocked, disbelieved, derided and
abused by those charged with their medical and social care.

Dr John Greensmith noted in a letter to The Scotsman (when Wessely was
making the same claims of vilification by patients seven years ago):
It is deplorable if he has been so treated, no matter how
controversial his views. It is instructive, however, to examine how
Professor Wessely has raised passions to this level of fervour by,
perhaps, more than any other single individual, being responsible for
making the area as controversial as it is.

There has been a constant drip-feed of denigration of patients with ME
and a dismissal of ME as an organic disease over the last quarter of a
century by Professors Simon Wessely, Michael Sharpe and Peter White;
they all belong to a group dominated by psychiatrists (named in
Hansard in December 1998 as the Wessely School).

Most of them work for the medical and permanent health insurance
industry. The industry is panicking because it stands to lose
millions if it has to pay out for a severe life-long physical illness
whose worldwide incidence appears to be escalating out of control. In
1994, Wessely went on record about the industrys concerns: By 1990
insurance and disability claims (for ME) were doubling every year.
There is plentiful written evidence that the Wessely School advise
their insurance industry paymasters that ME is a functional (ie.
non-organic) disorder, which is to the financial advantage of the
industry, as functional disorders are excluded from cover.

Wessely and his colleagues are also advisors on ME to Government
Departments of State (and Wesselys wife is Chair of the Royal College
of General Practitioners); as a result, people with ME are
specifically targeted by the Department for Work and Pensions, making
it difficult for them to claim State benefits, with the financial
support necessary for basic survival being ruthlessly withdrawn. Many
very sick and destitute ME patients have had no alternative but to
commit suicide, rates of which in ME are known to be higher than
average (sadly, a fact does little to mitigate the charge that they
were mental malingerers).

The Wessely Schools blatant financial conflict of interest has been
roundly condemned by a group of senior parliamentarians including the
former Chairman of a House of Commons Science and Technology Select
Committee and former Dean of Biology; a member of the Home Affairs
Select Committee; a Minister of State for the Environment; a former
President of the Royal College of Physicians; the Deputy Speaker of
the House of Lords, and a former Health Minister and Honorary Fellow
of the Royal College of Physicians.

The Wessely Schools endless assertions that ME does not exist except
as an aberrant illness belief by those who are seeking secondary gain
(an assertion for which there is not a shred of evidence, as the many
doctors, nurses, medical scientists, lawyers, teachers, and others who
have lost their valued careers, salaries, homes, marriages and even
families because of ME will readily confirm) has created a climate of
disgust for patients with ME, giving rise to such banner headlines as
GPs despise the ME generation published in the medical trade
magazine GP Medicine. Since the 1980s, they have made a point of
mocking and denigrating sufferers from ME in a way they would not dare
do about patients with multiple sclerosis or other neurological
disorders and this has been fed to and reflected in the national

The Wessely School insist that they can cure ME by cognitive
restructuring (ie. brain-washing patients into believing that they do
not suffer from an organic illness but from wrong illness beliefs) and
by forcing them to ignore their symptoms and engage in a programme of
incremental exercise (one MP suffering from ME collapsed and died
leaving the House of Commons gym, having been told to exercise back to

What is ME?

ME is a chronic, acquired neuroimmune disorder that affects every
bodily system, not only the neurological and immune systems but also
the endocrine, cardiovascular and respiratory systems as well as the
musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal systems.

There is evidence of widespread, chronic inflammation and of serious
problems with the blood vessels in both adults and children.

The muscles of people with ME have been shown to take much longer to
recover from minimal exercise. Direct impairments in oxygen delivery
have been clearly demonstrated. Cardiac output in ME patients has been
shown to barely meet metabolic demand, so it is no wonder that
patients feel and are extremely ill, with profound incapacity and
nausea; many patients cannot stand unsupported and often have
difficulty maintaining their balance.

There are more abnormal genes in ME than in cancer: there is
compelling evidence linking ME with exposure to environmental toxins
and chemical warfare agents. Gene expression research has demonstrated
16 genes as having an expression profile associated with ME. Genes
affecting the immune system and the functioning of muscles have been
shown to be abnormal. A neuronal component was identified that is
associated with hypomyelination of the central nervous system. The
researchers specifically pointed out the association of
organophosphates (which include household pesticides) and chemical
warfare agents with the damaged genes.

Notably, after one of the researchers who discovered these acquired
(not inherited) gene abnormalities in ME, Dr Jonathan Kerr, publicly
criticised the psychiatrists who control funding for ME research at
the Medical Research Council, he lost his tenure and his contract was
not renewed.

He was not hounded out of his research by patients with ME, but by
those whose mission seemed to be to ensure that his voice was
silenced, leaving the way open for more dismissal and disparagement of
those battling a devastating disease.

At a press briefing in the United States on 3rd November 2006, ME was
described by Anthony Komaroff, Professor of Medicine at Harvard and a
world-renowned ME expert as this terrible illness.

People die from ME and UK coroners have recorded it as a cause of death.

Evidence from autopsies of ME patients is chilling: there is evidence
of oedema, inflammation in 75% of the spinal cord, damaged arteries,
congestion of the liver and spleen, ischaemia of the bowel,
rhabdomyolysis (the breakdown of muscle fibres with release of muscle
fibre contents into the circulation, some of which are toxic to the
kidney), and degeneration of the brain. The Medical Director of one US
support foundation commented: Every time you look closely at someone
with this disease, you see immense suffering. There appears to be no
limit as to the human toll that this disease is capable of exerting on

However, when in 2002 the UK Chief Medical Officer publicly stated
that ME should be recognised alongside disorders such as multiple
sclerosis and motor neurone disease, the British Medical Journal
quoted Professor Michael Sharpe responding by saying that just because
the CMO says something, it doesnt mean that doctors will pay any

The Wessely Schools published views about people with ME

Since about 1987 the Wessely School have consistently rejected the
biomedical evidence of serious organic pathology in ME.

In 1990 Wessely asserted that ME exists only because well-meaning
doctors have not learnt to deal effectively with suggestible

That same year he wrote in a medical textbook: The description given
by a leading gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic remains accurate:
The average doctor will see they are neurotic and he will often be
disgusted with them .

In 1991, he cited medical comments made between 1880 and 1908 on
patients with neurasthenia, with the clear implication that such
descriptions apply equally well to todays ME patients: always
ailing, seldom ill; a useless, noxious element of society; purely
mental cases; laziness, weakness of mind and supersensitiveness
characterises them all; the terror of the busy physician.

In 1992 the Wessely School directed that in patients with ME, the
first duty of the doctor is to avoid legitimisation of symptoms; that
same year, Wessely went on record about his intention to eradicate

In 1994 ME was described by Wessely as merely a belief and a myth
(I will argue that ME is simply a belief, the belief that one has an
illness called MEI will argue that this line here (pointing to a
slide) representsthe line between real and unreal illness) and he
openly named and mocked a seriously ill ME patient in a lecture; that
person is now dead.

In 1996, under the guise of a Report from the Joint Royal Colleges of
Physicians, Psychiatrists and General Practitioners, the Wessely
School recommended that no investigations should be performed to
confirm the diagnosis. (This advice to doctors was re-stated in the
2007 NICE Clinical Guideline on CFS/ME in which the Wessely School
were instrumental. This means that investigations such as a
comprehensive immune profile cannot be ordered in the UK -- even
though one specific immune test always corresponds to disease severity
in ME patients -- nor can patients be sent for fMRI scans that show
clear evidence of hypoperfusion in the brain, nor can doctors request
SPECT scans that show reduced blood flow through the brain stem in ME
patients in a particular pattern that to date has not been found in
any other disease process).

In 1997 Professor Michael Sharpe referred to ME as a pseudo-disease

In 1999 Sharpe said about ME patients: Those who cannot be fitted
into a scheme of objective bodily illness yet refuse to be placed into
and accept the stigma of mental illness remain the undeserving sick of
our society and our health service.

Between February and April 2002 Wessely was involved with a poll of
non-diseases carried out amongst doctors by the British Medical
Journal: along with big ears and freckles, the poll found ME to be a
non-disease that is best left medically untreated. As a result,
patients with ME were struck off their GPs list, one extremely sick
person being told scathingly This practice does not treat
non-existent diseases.

For those who want or need to find out about the published organic
pathology in ME, a summary of the biomedical abnormalities can found
in Section 2 of Magical Medicine: How to Make a Disease Disappear
(http:///www.meactionuk.org.uk/magical-medicine.htm) and those who
want a fully referenced account of what the Wessely School and the
insurance industry are really up to can read the rest of the 442 page

The Wessely Schools dismissal and rejection of the biomedical
evidence on ME has continued unabated. It was not the fact that UK
scientists such as Professor Myra McClure failed to find evidence of
the retrovirus XMRV found in ME patients by US researchers that caused
such an eruption of anger within the ME community: it was the utterly
triumphant and contemptuous comments of certain of those scientists
whose studies failed to replicate the original XMRV study published in
Science (2009:326:585-589) that so incensed some people with ME and
the medical scientists and clinicians who are striving to help them.

Patients with ME know what Wessely really thinks about them, as his
published views leave no room for doubt or conjecture (for
illustrations of his descriptions of ME/CFS patients, see Quotable
Quotes about ME/CFS:

The views of the Wessely School about ME have repeatedly been shown by
medical scientists of international repute to be completely wrong: the
recently published International Consensus Criteria for ME produced by
26 world experts from 13 countries points to widespread inflammation
and multisystemic neuropathology, consistent with the WHO
classification of ME as a neurological disorder, of which the cardinal
symptom is post-exertional nalaise. The authors state: Myalgic
encephalomyelitis (ME), also referred to in the literature as chronic
fatigue syndrome, is a complex disease involving profound
dysregulation of the central nervous system and immune system,
dysfunction of cellular energy metabolism and ion transport and
cardiovascular abnormalities. The underlying pathophysiology
produces measureable abnormalities in physical and cognitive function
and provides a basis for understanding the symptomatology.

What is astonishing is that no NHS clinician has the autonomy to
regard ME as a somatoform disorder because the WHO classifies it as a
neurological disorder; the Department of Health has confirmed in
writing that: The ICD-10 is an NHS Information Standard.The NHS has
a long history of using the ICD. There is a legal obligation for
Department of Health to provide ICD data to the WHO for international
comparison. The NHS was mandated to implement ICD-10 on 1 April 1995,
at which time there was a formal consultation (emphasis
added).Implementationapplies to NHS organisations and their system
suppliers, such as acute and foundation trusts, primary care trusts,
and the NHS Information Centre.

Not only the Wessely School themselves but also many GPs and NHS
neurologists are in breach of that mandate: in 2010, 84% of
neurologists questioned stated that they do not believe that ME exists
as a neurological condition.

Who is abusing whom?

For the Wessely School to ignore the scientific evidence that ME is a
biomedical disorder is abusive of patients with the disorder; for them
to advise the DWP decision-makers and to train ATOS examiners that ME
is a mental disorder is abusive; to section patients with ME and
remove them from their distraught families is abusive; to make sick
people worse by inappropriate interventions is abusive; to deny them
financial support necessary to survive is abusive; to mock them and to
misinform others about their serious disorder is abusive; to insist
that they suffer from wrong thinking and a fear of activity when they
suffer from a very serious and significant medical disorder with
reproducible multiple systemic abnormalities is abusive.

This widespread abuse of ME patients continues unabated in the UK.

Robin McKie implies that it is these scientists themselves who are
being abused by the very patients they are trying to help. If this is
true and if it is corroborated by the police and is not another
public attack on people with ME so often used by the Wessely School in
the past when yet more research appears that vitiates their own
beliefs -- it is an entirely unacceptable state of affairs and must be
condemned without reservation.

However, responsible journalists should exercise the requisite
journalistic neutrality when reporting a story and report the whole
issue, not just regurgitate uncritically what they are fed by those
with well-established vested interests. McKie would do well to redress
the balance by reporting the presentation by Catriona Courtier at the
Royal Society of Medicine meeting in the Medicine and me series on
11th July 2009 in which she emphasised the scandalous situation faced
by ME patients in the UK:

Over the twenty years I have had this illness, what has really
bedevilled the situation of patients with ME has been the belief,
which has been persistently promulgated, that we are suffering, not
from a physical illness but from an illness belief. This is at the
root of all the problems we experience: the lack of resources, the
hostility and disbelief from some doctors, the ignorance and
disinterest in our symptoms, the ineffective treatments, the harmful
treatments and in the very worst cases, the imposition of psychiatric
treatment against the patient's wishes.

Those who promulgate the view that ME is an illness belief have
undermined the mutual trust and respect that should exist between
doctor and patient. They have done a great disservice to both patients
and to the medical profession.

I began by describing the severely affected as the weakest among us.
In some ways they are the strongest to live for many years with an
illness like ME is a huge feat of human endurance and courage but is
seldom recognised as such. People with ME at all levels deserve to be
respected. They deserve to be listened to.

That patients with ME continue to be neither listened to,
appropriately investigated nor correctly cared for but abused and
effectively abandoned is believed by many to be the shameful legacy of
the Wessely School.

Mya Symons

Mya Symons
Thank you for posting this excellent letter, heapsreal. I wonder if it would help to send this letter to all reporters who have done stories on CFS, especially if they have portrayed ME as a psychological illness without giving the other side? Do you know who he has sent this letter to?

I did not know Wessley had said and written all these things. I read this and started thinking about the posts here where people mentioned suing for libel and slander. If only we could come up with the money....


iherb 10% discount code OPA989,
australia (brisbane)
Thank you for posting this excellent letter, heapsreal. I wonder if it would help to send this letter to all reporters who have done stories on CFS, especially if they have portrayed ME as a psychological illness without giving the other side? Do you know who he has sent this letter to?

I did not know Wessley had said and written all these things. I read this and started thinking about the posts here where people mentioned suing for libel and slander. If only we could come up with the money....
he has a conflict of interest with insurance companies and ME. Be interesting to send a copy to all the newspapers etc. I think he is just the devil in disguise.



Senior Member
Thanks heapsreal - it's always good to see Prof Hooper's knowledgeable writings aired publicly now.Especially now in the light of a very public attempt to discredit ME sufferers in certain parts of the Press (and certain journalists). Their motives are pretty transparent.


Senior Member
Victoria, Australia
Prof Hooper has such a wonderful handle on the history, the politics and current state of affairs of M.E. and writes it so well. Always very long dialogues of course but to cover it all adequately I guess it needs to be long!

Why do we 'to a man' see such relative evil and deception behind the way this whole condition has been handled over the years, yet it continues to perpetuate? May justice prevail....and very soon!


Senior Member
Switzerland/Spain (Valencia)
I wonder how a small group of people who are not MPs or gov't ministers/PM can have such an influence. How is it possible an MP who has had ME will collapse and die and yet this misinformation can continue? Won't other MPs then realize how serious this is and stop this bs and make sure this illness is funded and researched properly? It's hard to understand.


iherb 10% discount code OPA989,
australia (brisbane)
I wonder how a small group of people who are not MPs or gov't ministers/PM can have such an influence. How is it possible an MP who has had ME will collapse and die and yet this misinformation can continue? Won't other MPs then realize how serious this is and stop this bs and make sure this illness is funded and researched properly? It's hard to understand.
Its all about money and or saving money in the UK by not paying disability for ME. I think other countries see the benefits of keeping it psychological as well, eg in australia if antivirals like famvir were approved for ME then it would cost $30 a month, but because its not subsidsed by the govt and classed as off label prescription this cost raises to about $200 a month and some places i have seen it sell for $400 off label, totally rediculus. If u have genital herpes u get it for $30 and i suppose many other meds would cost the health care system more. But if they spent the money on making us well then they would keep more ME patients in the work force and paying taxes, its like spending $50 to save $20 just doesnt make sense.

I still think we should put a campane together to all go and donate blood and wessely to be given the first infusion of donated blood from ME patients, he knows he wont get sick by using GET and lots of positive thinking and exercise, yeah right!! What a dickhead, really??


Senior Member
Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
I wonder how a small group of people who are not MPs or gov't ministers/PM can have such an influence. How is it possible an MP who has had ME will collapse and die and yet this misinformation can continue? Won't other MPs then realize how serious this is and stop this bs and make sure this illness is funded and researched properly? It's hard to understand.

As I keep saying and it IS relevant, what occured in Germany and Russia, and elsehwere, is much the same crap
"Same team, different jersey" as we say here.
Just means for an end, Wessely etc are tools, even though they are the "villains" of the piece, they, like those before, are mere tools for those who want agendas pushed.

Look at the obscenity of the Iraq war, to see how much the media, even politicians and government itself, can be manipulated to fulfill the desires of some sick, powerful bastards.

ME victims, like most disabled, require more care, this costs money...scum don't like this, they scream over paying taxes yet live in mansions, and would rather the "excess population died off" and will help them too if they can, merely to save a few thousand dollars/pounds.
Which also runs into the evils of the health insurance companies, because it's in their interests to make people "untermensch"..because if you have an underclass who get no medicla help, this terrifies folk into paying obscene amounts to avoid this fate. See UNUM, they are EVIL.
Additionally the possibility of vaccines being involved is another impetous for this abuse.

Don't damn well kid yourselves folks, that evil didn't somehow die in Berlin, or with Stalin, it's always there.
It's a constant fight against it, and in last 30 years, we've seen it growing, and resultant atrocious results in many areas.