Stand back a minute! by Greg Crowhurst

Letter FROM the Royal Society of Medicine Help ME Circle, 13 May 2008 – See Co-Cure:

or here:


From: Greg Crowhurst

Stand back a minute !

A Cartesian reflection on the RSM letter to Jan van Roijen

Greg Crowhurst,
14th May 2008

On April 28 2008 there was a one-sided, closed, psychiatrically biased conference, in London, on
 CFS. The RSM believes, in a letter to Jan van Roijen, that all the content was evidence-based and of high scientific quality; an extraordinary claim to make given that the conference was claiming that ME no longer exists.

Peter White is reported to have referred in his opening speech, to the philosopher Descartes; It is a  particularly alarming statement, because it could be inferred to mean that the split between psychiatry and the biomedical reality of ME cannot be safely used to protect people with ME anymore from the  involvement of psychiatry in the treatment of their illness:

‘The ME-CFS debate may be remembered in future more as one of the tipping points for the rejection  of Cartesian dualism than for diseases that lie within’.

Actually Descartes, if he had been present at the Conference, might well have responded to this  statement by exclaiming – wow, hold on, stand back a minute !

He has very much indeed to contribute to the current ME debate.

A gifted mathematician as well as a brilliant philosopher, Descartes is the person who invented  analytic geometry and the graph (those two familiar lines on a graph, the Cartesian co-ordinates, are named after him).

Far more importantly, Descartes laid out a sound method for acquiring certain knowledge about the  world; so sound in fact that he built the basis upon which modern science would subsequently be  constructed; a basis that seems to have been thoroughly shattered by the psychiatric lobby in their  treatment of ME.

It is indeed instructive to consider the nature of Cartesian dualism and how one might set about  overcoming it.

By truth or by fantasy? That, in relation to the psychiatric lobby, is the all-important question.

Is it by paying rigorous attention to the physical/ medical research and experience of people with ME,  or is it about plucking an hypothesis seemingly out of the air?

Descartes provides the answer.

Time and time again, this wonderfully bold, easy to read writer stresses the importance of disciplined, critical rationality.

A scientist, he stated, should analyse the world uncontaminated by any dogma or propaganda. Can  that be safely said of the psychiatric lobby and their relationship with the Medical Insurance Industry?

Descartes would most certainly advise the psychiatric lobby to pay great attention to the facts, like the 4000 published clinical studies on ME, which they apparently ignore: like severe ME patient’s personal experience of pain, numbness, spasms and other serious neurological and physical symptoms, which can be perceived clearly and distinctly and analysed in quantitative terms, using experiment and hypothesis, which they ignore.

Psychiatrys perennial problem it seems is its “relatively underdeveloped status as a science” (KW  Fulford, AY Smirnov and E Snow 1993*) leaving it with an undue reliance upon consensual definition, rather than hard science, to determine disorders; a consensus that critics say, more often than not, is determined by GlaxoSmithKlines or UNUM’s billions of dollars.

Consensus is not necessarily truth.

The original term “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”, for example, rather than arising out of careful Cartesian analysis was simply the working title of a study that was developed in the 1980s on the basis of some cluster outbreaks in the USA thought to be due to Epstein Barr Virus.

The trouble is this throwaway title stuck with the most awful consequences.

The criteria of CFS, according to Lajla Marks (2007) were never meant to cover ME.

Inconceivably, although the World Health organisation classified Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in 1969 in their international classification of diseases (ICD) as a neurological disease, listed in ICD-10,  code G93.3 under “Other diseases in the brain”, in the USA they just kept on focussing upon “fatigue” and ignoring the neurological and neurocognitive symptoms, which are the main symptoms in ME, states Marks.

Even in their revised criteria, Fukuda et al in 1994, in the USA, chose not to “include the characteristic neurological and neurocognitive symptoms, described by Ramsay and others before him – symptoms that were of vital significance for the understanding of the disease and for further research and treatment.”

Today, CFS is being forcefully promoted, rather than ME.

ME, according to a report on the RSM Conference, no longer exists; yet what has reputedly eradicated ME from the world, apart from the propaganda of the psychiatric lobby?

Nothing it seems, as physical government backed research for it does not exist.

There has been no programme of medical eradication or vaccine development, for example, which is the usual course to eradicate a serious disease.

The fears of a further outbreak of epidemic proportion have been silenced and argued away,  based on opinion rather than biomedical science – how can you have an epidemic of psychiatric mental  health issues? It is not the same thing at all.

No risk there then.

People with real neurological ME are today cleverly excluded from the ME now called CFS clinics,  categorically because they have neurological symptoms, which are purported to no longer exist,
except in a historical sense.

Descartes would, presumably, be shaking his head in some bewilderment.

Departments of Neurology across the land, who should know better, are often so heavily influenced
by psychiatric propaganda that they refuse to validate neurological ME so that the patients reality  becomes a torment of real physical, yet completely unexplored, unexplained, untreated and invalidated symptoms.

People with real ME are not included in the data that would prove that GET and CBT do not work for ME, because they are excluded under the psychiatric- based criteria.

CFS excludes neurological symptoms from its criteria and focuses upon fatigue, a symptom not necessarily present and actually post -exertional in nature in true ME. Tiredness and deconditioning come no where near this, as a definition of what an ME sufferer experiences.

Yet the psychiatric lobby have taken the name ME, incorporated it into CFS, accepted the funding to help the people, then in reality denied them access by denying their neurological disease.

In business this would be deemed a successful hostile take-over.

It can be safely reasoned then that Descartes would not have been behind the take over of a valid  biological disease by psychiatry, especially one that is based on not a shred of solid empirical evidence

Negated and excluded, people with severe ME are left, under the psychiatric lobby’s influence with no  viable option or alternative. The psychiatrists have occupied the central ground of ME and excluded  people with ME from it at the same time.

It is not too hard to imagine what Descartes might have to say about this deadly state of affairs.

He might well draw the psychiatric lobby’s attention to how the study of “Myalgic Encephalomyelitis”  (ME), has always been based on clinical findings of signs of dysfunction in the Central Nervous  System (CNS) and over the years has been shown, without the slightest doubt, to be a physical disease.

He would probably ask, alongside Margaret Williams (2004),: Can White really be looking at patients with ME / ICD-CFS or is he looking at those with a primary complaint of the “Wessely School” construct, namely, one end of a continuum of “medically unexplained fatigue”?

It is not too hard to imagine Descartes agreeing wholeheartedly with Dr Derek Englander’s, March 22  2008 letter to the Daily Telegraph on the RSM Conference, citing as arrogant, how obscurity over the cause of ME has been masterfully used by psychiatrists to claim that the disease is a manifestation of a psychiatric condition, leading to an imagined problem.

Such a clever take over from such a simple statement, as this severe ME sufferers poem shows:

But then there is the psychiatric lobby
who have intentionally set out to negate my reality
based on nothing more than whim and whimsy
fabrication and aggrandisement,
without the slightest hint of evidence-based integrity.
Yet still in their arrogance
they persecute and deny me
And all the thousands like me
too ill to properly engage in the world or make truth
of their existence known,
too ill to fight their corner.
Yes, my life is bizarre and disturbed and certainly it
feels unreal,
but it is not half as insane and unreal
as the emptiness
at the centre of their argument.

Linda Crowhurst 2008

The lesson appears to be, abandon rigourous Cartesian rationality at your peril.

People with the WHO defined neurological disease ME, caused by an enterovirus, especially those who  have more recently become ill now face decades of suffering from a supposedly non illness, without  validation, treatment or hope of a cure and without appropriate and proper medical tests or care.

Under the psychiatric lobby’s influence there is:

  • No way out for people with neurological ME.
  • No valid tests.
  • No valid treatments.
  • No hope.
  • No acknowledgement of their suffering.
  • No alleviation of symptoms.
  • No biomedical consultation.
  • No development of an appropriate biomedical service.
  • Only intense suffering, hopelessness and even death.

And all of this because of psychiatrys irrational grip .

Forget Descartes dualism of mind and body too soon and you create a living hell for people too ill to  speak up, too poor to mount campaigns.

It is true that we are indeed approaching a tipping point.

The tipping point must be the primacy of the individual severe ME patients experience; which will  rid ME once and for all of psychiatry’s influence and herald in a long overdue era of proper recognition,  biomedical treatment and sound clinical research.

Cogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am; Descartes powerful affirmation of human experience and being, equips us to critically view the tragic psychiatric supremacy that devastates so many ME patients lives, and perceive the power-game that is being played out, because it affirms the reality and validity of the persons experience, which the psychiatric lobby fails to do .

As for resolving any mind/body dualism (the Cartesian split), the psychiatric lobby, on such flimsy  foundations, is not very likely to achieve this most holy of grails.


KW Fulford, AY Smirnov and E Snow (1993) Concepts of disease and the abuse of psychiatry in the USSR University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford.

The British Journal of Psychiatry 162: 801-810 (1993)

Marks L (2007) What is ME?

Williams M (2004) Paradoxical Proliferation of Professorial Psychiatry?



Leave a Reply

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

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s