In een open brief aan de redactie van de Telegtraph reageert Margaret Williams
op een demoniserende blog-rubriek van Damian Thompson in diezelfde krant.
Response to Damian Thompson's article on ME
29th September 2012
On Saturday 29th September the Daily Telegraph published a blog entitled
'It's safer to insult the Prophet Mohammed than to contradict the armed wing of the ME brigade', written by Damian Thompson.
The following letter was sent to the Telegraph letters editor in response to this blog,
which can be read below:
The Letters Editor
The Daily Telegraph
29th September 2012
Is it no longer a responsible journalist’s job to report facts and events accurately?
Seemingly not, at least as far as the neuro-immune disease ME is concerned.
Today, Damian Thompson continues the denigration of those with ME,
asserting an overlap which does not exist between "ME and eating disorders" and
describing as "brave and brilliant" the bizarre speculations of an American Associate Professor of English, Elaine Showalter
who, with no medical training, likened ME sufferers to those believing in "alien abduction".
A journalist concerned with accuracy would surely have taken the trouble
to check and report the facts and would know that although the recent Lipkin study found no association between ME and the retroviruses XMRV or pMLV
(referred to by Dr Max Pemberton in the Daily Telegraph on 24th September:
"Why few dare tackle the psychology of ME – The findings of a study into the role of viruses in ME will not be acceptable to some"),
the association of other viruses, in particular, enteroviruses such as Coxsackie B, is well established.
Lipkin himself stated that patients have a particular pattern of immunoreactivity,
indicating a persistent disease process, but this important finding has been ignored by those determined to dismiss ME as psychogenic.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently re-categorised ME under "Immune Diseases",
describing it as a "serious or life threatening illness" on a par with cancer and heart failure,
and the Primer for Clinical Practitioners published this month by the International Association for CFS/ME
sets out evidence of multi-system disruption consistent with an autoimmune inflammatory disease.
Factual reporting would avoid the repetition of sensational claims
that seem designed to provoke the very response which Thompson rightly condemns and which further fuels such discord.
Research Assistant to Malcolm Hooper
Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
University of Sunderland
'It's safer to insult the Prophet Mohammed than to contradict the armed wing of the ME brigade'
By Damian Thompson
September 28th, 2012
The Columbia finding was a terrible blow to many ME sufferers,
who hoped that these viruses were the Holy Grail of a biological cause for their illness.
But, as Max explained, it wasn’t widely reported
because medical journalists are frightened of the militant wing of the ME lobby.
In contrast, medical science has no great difficulty explaining
what’s wrong with most people diagnosed, or self-diagnosed, with ME.
Their brains create a debilitating fatigue and pain that often correlates with certain personality traits.
For example, there’s an overlap between ME and eating disorders.
Once you start talking about overlaps you’re in dangerous territory.
In 1997, the feminist historian Elaine Showalter
wrote a brave and brilliant book called Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture.
She suggested that "psychogenic diseases" such as ME and Gulf War Syndrome
had something in common with the confabulated memories of "Ritual Satanic Abuse" and alien abduction.