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"Time to swot up on chronic fatigue" - New Statesman

Kyla

ᴀɴɴɪᴇ ɢꜱᴀᴍᴩᴇʟ
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Location
Canada
http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/observations/2015/11/time-swot-chronic-fatigue

Not perfect and once again a title shortened to "chronic fatigue"...but pretty good for a short piece.

Have personally never heard of this newspaper or the author so no idea as to any previous coverage of ME or CFS
Maybe someone in the UK can weigh in :)

There is no comment section, but the author is on Twitter if you want to send thanks ... or links to Tuller and Coyne;)

Time to swot up on chronic fatigue
Future general practitioners need to be made aware that “psychosomatic” should not be the default suspicion.

MICHAEL BROOKS
Around 250,000 people in the UK suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). The symptoms include debilitating tiredness, pains, dizziness, insomnia and depression. The standard recommended treatment has three strands: cognitive behavioural therapy, an exercise programme (“graded exercise therapy”) and medication that counters some of the pain, nausea, sleeping problems and other symptoms.

That prescription has been reinforced by a review published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, which followed a group of sufferers and concluded that cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy are better than “specialised medical care”.

The ME Association, however, responded with a detailed criticism of the study. It complains that cognitive behavioural therapy treatment attaches a label that marks CFS as a psychological disease while doing little good. Moreover, graded exercise therapy makes a significant proportion of people worse, it argued, and the hypothesis that those with CFS respond to the therapy because they are inactive and deconditioned “is no longer tenable”. The association pointed to research showing that sufferers have “significant abnormalities in the muscle, brain and immune system”, which are likely to contribute to CFS symptoms and induce fatigue in those compelled, against their inclination, to exercise as part of their treatment...
 
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worldbackwards

Senior Member
Messages
2,051
Have personally never heard of this newspaper or the author so no idea as to any previous coverage of ME or CFS
Maybe someone in the UK can weigh in :)
The New Statesman is a left of centre political magazine. I have a very vague memory of them publishing something useful about ME before but couldn't swear to it, but they have certainly carried pieces by Frances Ryan and Rosie Fletcher on problems PWME have claiming benefits.

They are also rivals to The Spectator (their right wing counterpart), so maybe this is a bit of daggers-drawn stuff after recent articles by Rod Liddle and Isabel Hardman. Never heard of Michael Brooks, but he looks like he's at least on the right lines (to be clear, I haven't read it properly yet).

Edit - read it now. A little sparse, but not too bad by any means.

Edit again - a brief search yields this, which is I think what I remember:
https://meagenda.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/new-statesman-wessely-article/

and this, about GWS and ME
http://www.newstatesman.com/node/161033

Haven't seen anything else, but it seems to be a broadly sympathetic line.
 
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sarah darwins

Senior Member
Messages
2,508
Location
Cornwall, UK
Definitely an improvement on a lot of what we've had to endure lately.

I like:

Future general practitioners need to be made aware that “psychosomatic” should not be the default suspicion. A compromised immune system now looks like a reasonable diagnosis.

He makes that statement presumably in reference to the Rituximab trials, which he mentions earlier, though I think he has it slightly wrong when he says "The drug destroys the immune system’s white blood cells", doesn't he? Surely just one subtype?
 

Sasha

Fine, thank you
Messages
17,863
Location
UK
A friend just showed me this in the paper edition and I agree it's pretty good.

@Kyla, in fairness to the author I think it would be best not to post his entire article here (it's copyright) but maybe just the first para so that people will go to the New Statesman and give him well-deserved traffic to his article. That will encourage the editors to give us more good coverage from him.
 

Kyla

ᴀɴɴɪᴇ ɢꜱᴀᴍᴩᴇʟ
Messages
721
Location
Canada
A friend just showed me this in the paper edition and I agree it's pretty good.

@Kyla, in fairness to the author I think it would be best not to post his entire article here (it's copyright) but maybe just the first para so that people will go to the New Statesman and give him well-deserved traffic to his article. That will encourage the editors to give us more good coverage from him.
good point.
edited.
 
Messages
2,087
Definitely an improvement on a lot of what we've had to endure lately.

I like:



He makes that statement presumably in reference to the Rituximab trials, which he mentions earlier, though I think he has it slightly wrong when he says "The drug destroys the immune system’s white blood cells", doesn't he? Surely just one subtype?
I think we are being picky if this the level of criticism. In fact if this was the level of criticism in all articles I think we would be very happy !
 

user9876

Senior Member
Messages
4,556
A friend just showed me this in the paper edition and I agree it's pretty good.

@Kyla, in fairness to the author I think it would be best not to post his entire article here (it's copyright) but maybe just the first para so that people will go to the New Statesman and give him well-deserved traffic to his article. That will encourage the editors to give us more good coverage from him.

I thought overall it was good but the thing that annoys me is the report that CBT and GET out performed other treatments. I don't blame the journalist for this since the Oxford University press release and paper abstract were deliberately misleading. But it is a good example of how bad press releases/paper abstracts lead to misleading press coverage.
 

Sidereal

Senior Member
Messages
4,856
Michael Brooks holds a PhD in quantum physics. He writes a weekly science column for the New Statesman, and his most recent book is At the Edge of Uncertainty: 11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise
ir
.

Interesting background.
 

user9876

Senior Member
Messages
4,556
They knew they could carry this on reputation and that we'd look like we were quibbling over technicalities, rather than the actual results. It's a good example of Ronald Reagan's political maxim, "If you're explaining, you're losing".

*sigh*

That's one of the reasons to point out the issue with science journalists. They may then think twice as the reputation goes down.
 

SOC

Senior Member
Messages
7,849
I realize this reminder is getting old, but on the chance that new members might not think of these things ----
Please click through to to the article even if you're not up to reading the whole thing. Lots of traffic to the article tells the author and the publisher that there's a lot of interest in this topic. We want the good articles to get tons of traffic, the bad ones, not so much.

Sometimes I fear that in our indignation, we give too much traffic to bad articles, encourging more of the same. Let's make sure we reward the good articles, not the bad ones.
 
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John Mac

Senior Member
Messages
321
Location
Liverpool UK
I realize this reminder is getting old, but on the chance that new members might not think on these things ----
Please click through to to the article even if you're not up to reading the whole thing. Lots of traffic to the article tells the author and the publisher that there's a lot of interest in this topic. We want the good articles to get tons of traffic, the bad ones, not so much.

Sometimes I fear that in our indignation, we give too much traffic to bad articles, encourging more of the same. Let's make sure we reward the good articles, not the bad ones.


Yes this article deserves as much traffic as we can give it
 

SOC

Senior Member
Messages
7,849
Does anyone know if the same person/computer going back to the article gives it additional hits, or whether the counting software is more complex than that? I had to go back to Virginia Gewin's article a number of times to reread after (to me) puzzling comment on it were made on PR. Maybe I gave it more hits than it deserved :(. If it's worthwhile, I'll go back to the "Time to Swot up..." article multiple times to reflect what I think about it's importance relative to Virginia's piece.
 
Messages
36
Does anyone know if the same person/computer going back to the article gives it additional hits, or whether the counting software is more complex than that? I had to go back to Virginia Gewin's article a number of times to reread after (to me) puzzling comment on it were made on PR. Maybe I gave it more hits than it deserved :(. If it's worthwhile, I'll go back to the "Time to Swot up..." article multiple times to reflect what I think about it's importance relative to Virginia's piece.

Hits are only important to the bean counters. Comments add to or detract from an article's credibility.
 

JayS

Senior Member
Messages
195
What the bean counters have to say can have influence if someone wants to try to write more on the same topic in the same publication.
 

Kyla

ᴀɴɴɪᴇ ɢꜱᴀᴍᴩᴇʟ
Messages
721
Location
Canada
Does anyone know if the same person/computer going back to the article gives it additional hits, or whether the counting software is more complex than that? I had to go back to Virginia Gewin's article a number of times to reread after (to me) puzzling comment on it were made on PR. Maybe I gave it more hits than it deserved :(. If it's worthwhile, I'll go back to the "Time to Swot up..." article multiple times to reflect what I think about it's importance relative to Virginia's piece.
Those will both show up separately in analytics (total hits/pageviews and unique users). and they likely consider both valuable if they are looking for reaction to a piece, and for ad dollars.
its unfortunately also why "controversial" pieces do really well.
so yes lots of traffic to good articles is a good thing.
 
Messages
36
What the bean counters have to say can have influence if someone wants to try to write more on the same topic in the same publication.

Yes, but I don't think one person leaving several footbprints is going to influence that one way or the other.