New Scientist: “Interview” with Prof Simon Wessely

On Wednesday, New Scientist published a piece by Clare Wilson featuring Professor Simon Wessely.  Brace yourselves and read the full “interview” here:

New Scientist

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126997.000-how-people-can-think-themselves-sick.html

How people can think themselves sick

11 March 2009 by Clare Wilson

Can people think themselves sick? This is what psychiatrist Simon Wessely explores. His research into the causes of conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and Gulf war syndrome have led to hate mail, yet far from dismissing these illnesses as imaginary, Wessely has spent his career developing treatments for them. Clare Wilson asks what it’s like to be disliked by people you’re trying to help…Read on

Comments – and I’m sure readers will have plenty – can be left via the Comment section at the foot of the article. 

For letters, use the online form:  http://www.newscientist.com/contact/person?recipient=lett 

Or E-mail letters to:  letters@newscientist.com 

If submitting a letter, include full postal address, telephone number and article reference (issue, page number, title). New Scientist appears to prefer short letters of around 150 words.

At the time of publishing, there have been over 90 comments.

Update: @ 18 March, there are now over 330 comments.  Comments are restricted to 5000 characters, so you may need to split longer comments over two postings.  The posting box has difficulty accepting text pasted from an email or from Word or Notepad.  It also has a problem displaying apostrophes – it displays the html code instead.  So avoid the use of “can’t”, “it’s”, “Wessely’s” etc.

Here’s one I posted, earlier:

http://www.newscientist.com/commenting/browse?id=mg20126997.000&page=7

In response to comment: Where Is The Science???
Fri Mar 13 14:14:51 GMT 2009 by Suzy Chapman, ME agenda

Mark Hewgill comments that he is surprised to see this article in New Scientist. I am not. In my view, this cobbled together piece was orchestrated as a potential damage limitation exercise, appearing as it did, just two days before the anticipated handing down of the judgement on the Judicial Review of the NICE CFS/ME Guideline (CG53). I very much doubt that the timing of this piece was co-incidental.

In March/April 2008, the Royal Society of Medicine received a large number of complaints because the Conference Planning Committee (of which Professor Wessely had been a member) had been dominated by psychiatrists and because a significant number of those selected to give presentations were also from predominately psychological / psychiatric backgrounds.

James Campbell comments, “Yet again we have Professor Wessely failing to mention any of the several thousand research papers which clearly show that ME/CFS is an organic multi-system disease.”

Towards the end of his own presentation at this RSM Conference, Prof Wessely had remarked, “…it is not possible, really though, to completely avoid the outside world much as we would like…I also think it is a great mistake, because if you really actually want to understand Chronic fatigue syndrome – ME – whatever we are going to call it, you have to do so in possession of all the facts – not just those facts that you like, but all of them. You cannot pick and choose, and the history of science tells us very clearly that turning your back on things that you do not like, things that are not going the way you want them to, and there are many, many examples of this, at best leads to false conclusions and bad decisions, and at worst, leads to bigotry and intolerance.”

Indeed. So Professor Wessely, we can expect to see you at the 29 May Invest in ME Conference?

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