Two articles in The Times: Children and ME / CFS; CBT and CFS

A couple of weeks ago, the Sunday Times published some hastily cobbled together copy on ME/CFS, in the In Gear section of the paper, promoting, amongst other items, a “USB vibrating massage ball”. Do journalists knock out these lightweight and poorly researched fillers in the health and lifestyle pages of the Sunday supplements around whatever manufacturers’ freebies happen to land on their desks that week?

“Jacinda, sweetie, find me a not too ghastly medical condition we can drop in a product placement for that squidgy, vibrating rubber thingy – no, not that one, the thing plugged into my laptop?”

“ME/CFS?”

“Perfect, darling! Copy on my desk in half an hour?”

There have been two further ME/CFS and “CFS” related articles in this week’s Times; the first on Friday, from Dr Jane Collins, The Times, and Anna Gregorowski, Nurse Consultant in Adolescent Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital and NICE Guideline Development Group member, focussing on ME/CFS in children.

This article includes the statement: “Complete rest is not a good idea, particularly at this age. Lack of exercise is associated with brittle bones, poor growth, school failure and possible psychological problems.”

The second, in today’s Body & Soul section of The Times, from Mark Henderson (standing in for Dr Copperfield), focuses on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for “CFS” and on those tiresome malcontents amongst the patient community who reject the concept of CBT for “CFS”.

Mr Henderson refers to the use of CBT in cancer and to Professor Trudie Chalder’s (Kings College London) as yet unpublished study on CBT and Type 1 diabetes patients. [Talking your way out of chronic conditions, The Times, 11 September, 2007.]

The ingemination of “CBT helps cancer patients and they don’t whinge about CBT like you lot do.” (now add diabetes) is becoming as familiar to us as that profoundly objectionable phrase “Yuppie Flu” – beloved of lazy sub editors and Button Elf brained hacks. Or latterly, “…which used to be known as Yuppie Flu.” which is just as bad.

I’d like to make a plea to any journalists reading this blog: Please, please stop using “Yuppie Flu” – we are all SICK TO DEATH OF IT!

The Chia paper: Chronic fatigue syndrome is associated with chronic enterovirus infection of the stomach has received worldwide coverage since its publication, last Thursday. It was picked up by the UK Sun and by the BBC. The press releases for this paper would have hit the news desks, several days ago; The Times did not pick up in this medical news story.

Instead, it gives us vibrating massage balls, Trudie Chalder and today, CBT.

 

Article One:

“Complete rest is not a good idea, particularly at this age. Lack of exercise is associated with brittle bones, poor growth, school failure and possible psychological problems. “

What is chronic fatigue syndrome or ME?

14 September, 2007
DR JANE COLLINS

Child health experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital talk about chronic fatigue syndrome, probably the most common medical reason for absence from school. Dr Jane Collins with Anna Gregorowski, Nurse Consultant in Adolescent Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), can affect children and young people as well as adults. It’s more common than you might think…

Read the full article here

 

Article Two:  [Brace yourselves…]

From the Body & soul section of The Times

Junk medicine: I think this might work
Cognitive behavioural therapy

15 September, 2007
MARK HENDERSON

…That misleading impression, however, still inspires hostility towards CBT among people who might benefit greatly. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a case in point. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recently recommended CBT and a related strategy, graded exercise, for the condition, on the back of good randomised clinical trials that indicate a benefit. There are no other therapies for CFS with such good evidence in their support, yet some patient groups have reacted with anger…

…A recommendation for CBT, too, says nothing about the origins of ill-health. The biology of cancer and diabetes is quite well understood, yet there is evidence that CBT can help and many patients are keen to have it. It is unfortunate that people with CFS do not think likewise…

Read the full article here

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s