Second DSM-5 public comment period closes 15 June: Final Call for Action

Second DSM-5 public comment period closes 15 June: Final Call for Action by UK patient orgs

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-3iT

This communication has been sent to the following organizations:

Action for M.E.; The ME Association; AYME; The Young ME Sufferers Trust; The 25% ME Group; RiME; Invest in ME; BRAME; ME Research UK; Mrs Sue Waddle

[Update: On June 1, Action for M.E. published a news item on DSM-5 confirming that it does intend to submit a response.]

Final Call for Action by UK patient organizations

 

Second DSM-5 public comment period closes 15 June

29 May 2011

The above organizations were alerted to this second public review period on 5 May, the day after revised criteria were posted on the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 Development website.

To date, not one patient organization in the UK has confirmed to me that they intend to submit feedback, this year. Please take some time to review these proposals and prepare a submission or consider submitting a joint response with another UK patient organization.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) DSM-5 Task Force is again accepting public comment on the latest proposals for the revision of DSM diagnostic criteria for psychiatric disorders.

The deadline for this second stakeholder feedback period is June 15 – less than three weeks away!

Is this a US specific issue?

No. UK and international input is required from patient organizations.

The DSM-5 “Somatic Symptom Disorders” Work Group has responsibility for the revision of the existing DSM-IV “Somatoform Disorders” categories. Two UK Professors of psychological medicine and research, Professor Michael Sharpe and Professor Francis Creed, are members of the Somatic Symptom Disorders Work Group.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the primary diagnostic system in the US for defining mental disorders and is used to varying extent in other countries. The next edition of the manual is scheduled for publication in 2013 and will inform health care providers and policy makers for many years to come. DSM-5 will shape international research, influence literature in the fields of psychiatry and psychosomatics and inform perceptions of patients’ medical needs throughout the world.

All UK patient organizations need to submit responses in this second review, even if they submitted last year. The latest key documents that expand on the proposals are attached for ease of reference. (Note: These documents have been revised several times since last year’s public review. Yellow highlighting has been applied by the Work Group to indicate edits and revisions between these latest versions and the texts as they had stood, earlier this year.)

What is being proposed?

The DSM-5 “Somatic Symptom Disorders” Work Group is recommending renaming the “Somatoform Disorders” section to “Somatic Symptom Disorders” and combining the existing categories – “Somatoform Disorders”, “Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Condition (PFAMC)” and possibly “Factitious Disorders”, into one group.

(“Somatic” means “bodily” or “of the body”.)

The Work Group also proposes combining “Somatization Disorder”, “Hypochondriasis”, “Undifferentiated Somatoform Disorder” and “Pain Disorder” under a new category entitled “Complex Somatic Symptom Disorder” (CSSD). There is also a “Simple or Abridged Somatic Symptom Disorder” (SSSD) and a proposal to rename “Conversion Disorder” to “Functional Neurological Disorder”.

If the various proposals of the Somatic Symptom Disorders Work Group were approved, there are considerable concerns that patients with a diagnosis of CFS, ME or PVFS, or awaiting diagnosis, would be vulnerable to the application of an additional “bolt-on” mental health diagnosis of a Somatic Symptom Disorder like “CSSD”, “SSSD” or “PFAMD”, or of misdiagnosis with a Somatic Symptom Disorder.

Because the APA and the WHO have a joint commitment to strive for harmonization between category names, glossary descriptions and criteria for DSM-5 and the corresponding categories in Chapter 5 of the forthcoming ICD-11, there could be implications for the revision of the “Somatoform Disorders” section of ICD-10 and therefore implications for UK patients – both adults and children.

Where can I find the full criteria for “CSSD”, “PFAMC” and other proposed categories?

Proposed criteria are set out on the DSM-5 Development site here: http://tinyurl.com/Somatic-Symptom-Disorders

The CSSD criteria are here: http://tinyurl.com/DSM-5-CSSD

There are two key PDF documents, “Disorders Descriptions” and “Rationale”, which expand on the Work Group’s proposals (attached for your convenience)

    Disorders Description   Key Document One: “Somatic Symptom Disorders”

    Rationale Document     Key Document Two: “Justification of Criteria — Somatic Symptoms”

 

Which patient groups might be hurt by these proposals?

The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC) provides advice and recommendations to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). On Day One of the May 10-11 CFSAC meeting, CFSAC Committee discussed the implications of these proposals for CFS, ME and Fibromyalgia patients as part of the agenda item around concerns for the proposed coding of CFS for the forthcoming ICD-10-CM.

If the Work Group’s proposals gain DSM Task Force approval, all medical diseases, whether “established general medical conditions or disorders”, like diabetes or heart disease, or conditions presenting with “somatic symptoms of unclear etiology” will have the potential for an additional diagnosis of a “somatic symptom disorder” – if the clinician considers that the patient’s response to their bodily symptoms and concerns about their health or the perception of their level of disability is “disproportionate”, or their coping styles, “maladaptive.”

But as discussed by CFSAC Committee members, patients with CFS, ME, Fibromyalgia and IBS (the so-called “Functional somatic syndromes”) may be especially vulnerable to the highly subjective criteria and difficult to measure concepts such as “disproportionate distress and disability”, “catastrophising”, “health-related anxiety” and “[appraising] bodily symptoms as unduly threatening, harmful, or troublesome.”

In a 2009 Editorial on the progress of the Work Group, the Work Group Chair wrote that by doing away with the “controversial concept of medically unexplained”, their proposed classification might diminish “the dichotomy, inherent in the ‘Somatoform’ section of DSM-IV, between disorders based on medically unexplained symptoms and patients with organic disease.” The conceptual framework the Work Group proposes:

“…will allow a diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder in addition to a general medical condition, whether the latter is a well-recognized organic disease or a functional somatic syndrome such as irritable bowel syndrome or chronic fatigue syndrome.”

In its latest proposals, the Work Group writes:

“…Having somatic symptoms of unclear etiology is not in itself sufficient to make this diagnosis. Some patients, for instance with irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia would not necessarily qualify for a somatic symptom disorder diagnosis. Conversely, having somatic symptoms of an established disorder (e.g. diabetes) does not exclude these diagnoses if the criteria are otherwise met.”

“…The symptoms may or may not be associated with a known medical condition. Symptoms may be specific (such as localized pain) or relatively non-specific (e.g. fatigue). The symptoms sometimes represent normal bodily sensations (e.g., orthostatic dizziness), or discomfort that does not generally signify serious disease…”

“…Patients with this diagnosis tend to have very high levels of health-related anxiety. They appraise their bodily symptoms as unduly threatening, harmful, or troublesome and often fear the worst about their health. Even when there is evidence to the contrary, they still fear the medical seriousness of their symptoms. Health concerns may assume a central role in the individual’s life, becoming a feature of his/her identity and dominating interpersonal relationships.”

These proposals could result in misdiagnosis of a mental health disorder or the misapplication of an additional diagnosis of a mental health disorder in patients with CFS and ME. There may be considerable implications for these highly subjective criteria for the diagnoses assigned to patients, the provision of social care, the payment of employment, medical and disability insurance, the types of treatment and testing insurers and health care providers are prepared to fund, and the length of time for which insurers are prepared to pay out.

Dual-diagnosis of a “general medical condition” or a so-called “functional somatic syndrome” plus a “bolt-on” diagnosis of a “Somatic symptom disorder” may bring thousands more patients, potentially, under a mental health banner where they may be subject to inappropriate treatments, psychiatric services, antidepressants and behavioural therapies such as CBT, for the “modification of dysfunctional and maladaptive beliefs about symptoms and disease, and behavioral techniques to alter illness and sick role behaviors and promote more effective coping [with their somatic symptoms].”

Who should submit comment on these proposals?

All stakeholders are permitted to submit comment and the views of patients, carers, families and advocates are important.

But evidence-based submissions from the perspective of informed medical professionals – clinicians, psychiatrists, researchers, allied health professionals, lawyers and other professional end users are likely to have more influence. Patient organizations also need to submit comment.

Where can I read last year’s submissions?

Copies of international patient organization submissions for the first DSM-5 public and stakeholder review are collated on this page of my site, together with selected patient and advocate submissions:

DSM-5 Submissions to the 2010 review: http://wp.me/PKrrB-AQ

How to comment:

Register to submit feedback via the DSM-5 Development website: http://tinyurl.com/Somatic-Symptom-Disorders

This is the last alert I shall be sending out. I hope all UK patient organisations will take this opportunity to submit their concerns.

Remember, the deadline is June 15.

Thank you.

Suzy Chapman
http://dxrevisionwatch.wordpress.com

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Letter issued by NRES following scrutiny of complaints in relation to SMILE Lighting Process pilot study

Letter issued by NRES (6 January 2011) following scrutiny of complaints in relation to SMILE Lighting Process pilot study

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-3g5

Letter issued 06.01.11 by National Research Ethics Service

Open PDF here: 05.01.11 Letter SMILE

 

Received 6 January 2011, by email attachment

Mrs Joan Kirkbride
Head of Operations
National Research Ethics Service
Darlington PCT
Dr Piper House, King Street, Darlington DL3 6JL
Direct Line – Mobile 07979 806425
Tel: 01325 746167 (Assistant – Janet Kelly)
Fax: 01325 746272
Email: joan.kirkbride@nres.npsa.nhs.uk
Website: www.nres.npsa.nhs.uk

Dear Ms Chapman

Assessing the feasibility and acceptability of comparing the Lightning Process with specialist medical care for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) – pilot Randomised Controlled Trial

This study, exploring how best we might treat children with Myalgic Enchephalitis [sic] or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome under the guidance of Dr Esther Crawley, Senior Lecturer/Consultant, Child and Adolescent Health sponsored by Bristol university and with the active participation of the association of Young People with ME (AYME) was reviewed on 8 July 2010 by the South West Research Ethics Committee (REC) as part of standard research regulation and ultimately received a favourable opinion on 8 September 2010.

Subsequently the National Research Ethics Service (NRES) received a number of emails and letters about this study and, despite being satisfied with the ethical review, felt it fair to give consideration to the issues raised.

It was clear that the application had received a considered and extensive review of the ethical issues of the project prior to the issue of the favourable opinion. This met all required procedures and processes, however, in view of the weight of correspondence received, much of which raised very similar issues, NRES asked the REC to consider the application, taking into account the issues that had been raised in the subsequent correspondence. Dr Hugh Davies, NRES Ethics Advisor provided a summary to the REC on the issues which had been raised and the opportunity was offered to Dr Crawley and the research sponsor to respond to the issues raised.

In December 2010, the South West REC met again to consider the application and associated documentation. Dr Davies and Mrs Kirkbride attended the meeting to provide advice and support to the REC in relation to ethical matters and operational processes. Dr Crawley was also invited to attend the meeting and was accompanied by sponsor representative Professor David Gunnell. The Chief Executive of the Association of Young People with ME (AYME) had been due to attend to offer support but as a result of illness was unable to do so and sent in a letter of support. The REC considered all the information available to it and discussed the application and agreed a number of questions which they then put to Dr Crawley. After this interview and further consideration the REC agreed that they would uphold their initial decision to grant a favourable opinion to the research with one minor change to the patient information documentation and one suggestion for the future should the research progress beyond a feasibility study.

Given the uncertainties of treatment of this condition and the need to resolve these, in line with professional guidance and duties, the REC felt this project would be a valuable start. A copy of the minutes of the meeting are attached and provide full detail of the discussions and agreements reached. I would like to thank you for your time in raising with NRES your concerns about the study. NRES believes that the initial application received a thorough review and an extensive reconsideration of the application at the December meeting and that it has fulfilled all its duties in the ethical review of the application.

Yours sincerely
JOAN KIRKBRIDE
Head of Operations, England

Encs Minute of the application discussion

National Research Ethics Service, National Patient Safety Agency, 4-8 Maple Street London W1T 5HD
Tel: 020 7927 9898 Fax: 020 7927 9899

Extract of Minutes from South West 2 REC meeting held on 2 December 2010.

5.1   10/H0206/32

Assessing the feasibility and acceptability of comparing the Lightning Process with specialist medical care for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalopathy (CFS/ME) – pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.

Chief Investigator: Dr Esther Crawley

Type of review: Other

Sponsor: Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases NHS Foundation Trust

Joan Kirkbride, NRES Head of Operations advised that the REC had previously given this study a favourable opinion to this study. Following this, NRES had dealt with a number of requests under the Freedom of Information Act from people and organisations who had raised a number of objections about the study. In view of this correspondence NRES asked the REC to debate these representations. Her attendance and that of Dr Hugh Davies, NRES Ethics Advisor at today’s meeting was to provide the REC with any guidance they may require in relation to process and ethical considerations.

To facilitate this review, Dr Davies, had put together a paper which included a collection of representations made on this study. The points raised by the representations were distilled into 15 issues that the Committee discussed in turn.

Permission had been sought from people who had sent correspondence to NRES to forward this information to Dr Crawley. Dr Crawley had provided a detailed response, which included letters from Mary-Jane Willows, CEO of Association for Young people with ME (AYME) and Colin Barton, Chairmen [sic] of the Sussex and Kent ME/CFS Society which the REC had available for consideration.

1. The study is misnamed and should be seen as more than a pilot study.

The Committee felt that 96 participants may be quite a lot to recruit for a feasibility study and queried if a 30% drop out rate was expected. In discussion with the researchers the REC were happy with the title of the study

2. Purpose

The Committee reviewed what data was available comparing the effectiveness of different treatments. This data seems to indicate that the Lightning Process is as effective/ineffective as many other current treatments and that more research is needed to resolve these uncertainties for the benefit of ME patients.

3. The Lightning Process (LP) is subject to trading standard and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) enquiries

Complaints that Mr Parker made unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness have been upheld by the ASA and this is in line with data from the ME society indicating it is effective (or ineffective) or harmful as other therapies. It was noted that the judgement of the ASA was made after the submission of the application to the ethics committee . And corrective action had been taken

4 Mr Parker is shortly to attend court for making false claims about his product

The Committee noted the correspondence submitted by Dr Crawley from Mr Parker and the refutation of this. The Committee considered this but had no further comments to make on this point

5 Conflict of interest

The REC considered this and felt they were similar to much other research and that they were adequately handled in the application

6. Mr Parker has a history of past failed businesses

The Committee noted the correspondence submitted by Dr Crawley from Mr Parker refuting this. The Committee considered this.

7. Mr Parker has used the study to increase sales

No evidence has been provided that Mr Parker has specifically used this study to increase sales. It was noted that the adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had stated that “The ad [16 June 2010 Internet sponsored search] must not appear again in its current form. We [the ASA] told Withinspiration to ensure they held substantiation before making similar efficacy claims for the lightning process” and that all Lightning Practitioners had been advised of this. The protocol and application clearly state that practitioners had been informed that they must make NO therapeutic claims on the basis of this study.

8. The complainants claim it is not appropriate to research children before work has been conducted in an adult population that can give consent

It was felt that respondents had selectively quoted from guidance about the acceptability to undertake research on children.

The Committee accepted the researcher’s view that CFS/ME is different in children and adults and therefore results from research on adults cannot be extrapolated to children.

9. Risk

The Committee noted that the intervention was in addition to standard care. The ME association survey data seemed to suggest it is as effective, ineffective or harmful as many other current treatments. Evidence of the risk provided to NRES was anecdotal and of low evidential value, reinforcing the need for such a trial as this one.

The Committee felt that there may be a slight risk of a child being worse after therapy (but equally a chance of improvement) and considered that they could withdraw at any time from the study if they wanted to. Supervision of the process was in place

10. Service user involvement

The Committee were reassured by the fact that AYME had been consulted during the planning of this study.

11. The role of the External Advisory group

The Committee considered that AYME has been consulted during the planning of this study.

12. The claims that the LP is coercive and bullying

The Committee considered this but were satisfied by the processes and precautions in place in the study..

13. Concern about the “primary endpoint”

The Committee clarified that this is only a feasibility study and that the primary endpoint is to see if it a full study is possible. The Committee also suggested that the secondary endpoint could be altered to assess the return to the education that children were in prior to their treatment rather than attendance at school.

14. A lack of generalisability

The Committee considered that the researchers accepted that they would not be able to generalise from this to children who had severe ME that kept them at home. It would still provide data on other children with this condition.

15. Participant Information

The Committee was unsure if the ME groups have enough information in the PIS to join.

The Committee felt that the PIS should include statistics on the risks of getting worse, whether there was no change, or whether the treatment was helpful.

The Committee debated whether, in order to address a possible perceived lack of training of those that might be conducting the Lightning therapy that a practitioner who is subject to a professional code of conduct could be used to deliver the therapy. This was also considered in discussion with the researcher.

The Committee also wanted to know if the research has begun recruitment.

Dr Esther Crawley and Professor Gunnell were invited to join the meeting and were asked by the Vice-Chair to clarify the following issues:

Q1: Is there anything you would like to say regarding your study?

Dr Crawley said that this research had the full support of children and families, indeed the impetus for starting it came from children and families and had the support of AYME. They started recruiting in September and this is well up to schedule. Dr Crawley said that it was a feasibility study and the Committee were content with this.

Q2: You stated that the study has started recruiting,

Dr Crawley stated there has been a high recruitment rate so far. Participants have not started receiving treatment yet.

Q3: Please explain your recruitment figures and what dropout rate are you expecting?

Dr Crawley replied that 96 participants may seem high for a feasibility study this number is smaller than that for some other feasibility studies and reflects both the expectation of up to 50% dropout in one of the arms and a moderate treatment effect (participant numbers reflect the need to ensure there is sufficient data to reliably estimate sample size requirements for the full trial) .Therefore they need high numbers to keep the numbers up to judge across the arms and see why people are dropping out.

Q4: Are there differences in the way children and adults are treated?

Dr Crawley replied that the treatment approaches are very different in the two groups. There are lots of points of difference but given the outcome is so different between adults and children, adult services tended to focus on symptom management whilst paediatric services aimed for recovery. In addition, paediatric services involved families and dealt with education not work. She added that children are already receiving this treatment and that we need to evaluate it to see if it works.

Q5: The practitioner of the lightning therapy has no other allied professional qualifications. The Committee suggested that it might be beneficial to the research if the practitioner had external qualifications other than in Lightning therapy and was covered by a code of conduct?

Dr Crawley replied there is a geographical limitation to who can be chosen and that she has worked before with the Bath practitioner who is good. In addition, the children will remain under her care. Prof Gunnell pointed out that children will continue to be under the specialist service in both arms. As the Chief Investigator for the study Dr Crawley accepted responsibility for the activities of the research team and pointed out that in this feasibility study, all Lightning intervention sessions will be recorded and some observed.

The Committee requested that the fact that the practitioner is not clinically qualified be added to the PIS.

The Committee suggested that consideration should be given to using “clinically qualified” Lightning Practitioners should the feasibility study proceed to a full study in the future.

Q6: The risk balance of the study is not included in the PIS.

Dr Crawley and Professor Gunnell replied that they would be happy to add this to the PIS. They added that according to the figures in the Parliamentary Inquiry into NHS Service provision for ME/CFS*, Lightning therapy fares better than the standard NHS therapies of Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

It was noted that this information related to treatment in adults. Data for children was not available. They also added that when patients get better they also don‟t tend to take part in surveys.

The Committee asked for these figures to be added to the PIS and to reference them so they are available but to note that they are relative to adults.

Q7: The Committee discussed the secondary endpoint regarding returning to school and suggested that it could be altered to assess the return to the education that they were in prior to their treatment rather than attendance at school.

Dr Crawley replied that recruitment and retention is the primary endpoint of the study as it is a feasibility study. She added that the inventory used to measure school attendance also measures home tuition. Those children that are house bound are excluded from the study as they have to be able to get to the clinic.

Dr Esther Crawley and Professor Gunnell left the meeting.

The committee felt that given current treatment uncertainty research was vital in this area and the proposal is a standard way to assess this. Currently survey data were limited and it was unwise to base health policy on individual case reports. It is vital to see if the lightening process is or is not helpful as children are already receiving this therapy.

The committee voted unanimously to confirm the favourable opinion of the application with the following additional conditions:

1. PIS for Teenagers and PIS for Parents: Please add the fact that the Lightning Practitioner is not clinically (medically) qualified (trained).

2. PIS for Teenagers and PIS for Parents: Please include the following text in the “Are there any disadvantages to taking part” section:

“Teenagers with CFS/ME can get worse with any intervention offered. There is no data in teenagers, see tables 1 and 2 for data in adults.”

3. PIS for Teenagers and PIS for Parents: Add the figures for GET, CBT and the LP from the Parliamentary Inquiry into NHS Service provision for ME/CFS include Data taken from Action for ME (AfME) and Association of Young people with ME (AYME) joint report “M.E. 2008: What progress” and reference it.

4. PIS for Teenagers and PIS for Parents: Add the figures for GET, CBT and the LP from the 2008 MEA survey and reference this.

The Committee suggested that for the future Dr Crawley might consider using Lightening [sic] Practitioners who were additionally clinically qualified.

Decision

The Committee restated the favourable opinion of the application.

The Committee nominated Tom Lucas to be the point of contact should further clarification be sought from the applicant.

[Ends]

*Ed: Note: The Inquiry into NHS Service provision for ME/CFS was not a “Parliamentary Inquiry”.  This was an unofficial inquiry instigated and undertaken by the APPG on ME. The interim report published by the APPG on ME, last year, does not have the authority of either House nor any government agency or department.

Update on NRES scrutiny of complaints received in relation to ethics approval of SMILE LP pilot study

Update on NRES (National Research Ethics Service) scrutiny of complaints received in response to the granting of ethics approval for the Dr Esther Crawley led Bath/Bristol SMILE Lightning Process pilot study using children and young people with ME and CFS

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-3fO

Update: Letter issued today by National Research Ethics Service:

Open PDF here: 05.01.11 Letter SMILE

 

Yesterday, I wrote to Joan Kirkbride (Head of Operations, England National Research Ethics Service (NRES), National Patient Safety Agency) to ask whether there is a date by which she anticipates contacting those who have written to her in connection with the SMILE Pilot study with an update on the progress of the scrutiny of complaints and concerns.

Ms Kirkbride has confirmed to me, today, that she plans to issue a letter this week.  I will update when this letter has been received.

Because there is no formal procedure through which decisions of Research Ethics Committees can be challenged, this exercise undertaken by the NRES in response to the considerable number of complaints received is not a process open to public scrutiny.

The “standard response” being issued by Ms Kirkbride in October and November in response to the receipt of complaints had been:

“NRES has received the submissions from the ME society [The ME Association] and others concerning the SMILE study, a children’s study investigating treatment of ME in this age group.

“Following our Standard Operating Procedures we have collated the information we’ve received and will work with the REC to consider it.

“Given that this treatment is currently available, ME society  [The ME Association] survey data suggests it has a similar profile to other therapies and the split opinions in the ME community (this study has the support of particular ME charities who have also been involved in its planning) we feel that a fair way forward is to seek the responses of the researchers, sponsor and the ME charities involved in the development of the study before asking the REC to review its favourable opinion. We also note that in this project, subjects will not be deprived of what is current care in this clinic. Research participants will receive this intervention in addition to their standard treatment.

“We will also be seeking the views of our National Research Ethics Panel.”

Complaints were being passed by Ms Kirkbride to am NRES colleague and to Dr Esther Crawley where permission had been given for communications to be forwarded. 

The study, which was granted ethics approval by South West 2 REC in September, last year, was expected to start recruiting last September. According to documents obtained under the FOIA, the study funders, The Linbury Trust and The Ashden Trust, had stipulated that the study must begin by October latest.

A meeting of the SMILE Pilot External Advisory Group, for which the patient organisation AYME has a seat, was held on 2 November. A copy of the Minutes of that meeting is posted on the website of the University of Bristol website, on the dedicated page for the SMILE Pilot study or open a PDF here on ME agenda: Minutes SMILE Pilot External Advisory Group 02.11.10

Under AOB (Any Other Business):

“1. SL asked how the study was going to date. EC replied that recruitment was going well, parents and teenagers appeared to be enthusiastic and there was a higher recruitment rate then envisioned.

“2. EC informed the group that she needed to respond to complaints made to NRES about the study. She suggested that she drafted a response, discussed this with co-applicants and sent the response to the External Advisory Group before submission. This was agreed.*

“[Action] EC to draft response for NRES, show co-applicants and then send to External Advisory Group before submission.”

 

SMILE Protocol Flowchart and Time plan

Source: Protocol document

 

Related information:

1] SMILE – Specialist Medical Intervention and Lightning Evaluation documents (Lightning Process pilot study – children [now aged 12 to 18] with CFS and ME): http://wp.me/p5foE-37x

2] Background to this issue: http://wp.me/p5foE-2Vt

3] All posts on Lightning Process pilot study in children issue:
https://meagenda.wordpress.com/category/lightning-process-smile-study/

4] Minutes, meeting of the SMILE Pilot External Advisory Group: 2 November 2010: http://wp.me/p5foE-3er

Minutes Forward-ME meeting, 26 October 2010: Lightning Process trial involving children

Minutes Forward-ME meeting, 26 October 2010: Lightning Process trial involving children

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-3eO

Forward-ME is a caucus group to the All Party Parliamentary Group on ME (APPG on ME) convened and chaired by the Countess of Mar.

The most recent meeting of the group was held in October in a meeting room within the House of Lords and the issue of the SMILE Lighting Process pilot trial was tabled on the Agenda at Item 6.2. The following is an extract from the Minutes of that meeting:

http://www.forward-me.org.uk/26th%20October%202010.htm

Minutes of the meeting held on

TUESDAY 26 OCTOBER 2010

1.00 PM

HOUSE OF LORDS.

1. Present:

Jane Colby – TYMES Trust
Christine Harrison – BRAME
Bill and Janice Kent – ReMEmber
Peter Spencer – AfME
Charles Shepherd – MEA
Sue Waddle – MERUK

Margaret Mar – Chairman

Mary-Jane Willows – AYME

2. Apologies:

Tanya Harrison – BRAME

[…]

6.2 Lightning Process trial involving children

The Group were informed that MEA and Tymes Trust had provided a joint statement on the SMILE Trial to Richard Ashby, Chair of the South West ethics Committee, saying that they felt the trial was unethical and that the ethics committee had probably not been made aware that the Advertising Standards Agency had ruled against a claim made by a Lightning Process Practitioner and that trading standards departments had been taking action in relation to misleading therapeutic claims. Concerns about the trial were being assessed by the National Research Ethics Service, headed by Joan Kirkbride.

It was said that an increasing number of individuals were contacting ethics bodies to express concerns about the trial.

The Group was told of a commentary in the Church Times by Prof Robin Gill, Chair of the BMA Ethics Committee, in which he criticised the research, and that Prof Gill planned to take this up with the BMA.

The Chairman had tabled a question asking what the Government’s opinion is on this matter.

(Hansard text)

Christine Harrison asked whether a complaint had been made to the NSPCC regarding the SMILE Trial. Charles Shepherd replied that it had and the content of this could be viewed on the internet.

A discussion followed. Concern was expressed regarding the fact that the study involves research being conducted on children before it was tested on adults. It was recognised that the MRC guidelines stated circumstances under which it would be acceptable to perform a study on children in the first instance. The feasibility study would need to prove that these conditions were satisfied in order to achieve ethical clearance of the actual trial. The Principal Investigator would also have to prove that a robust risk management strategy had been developed to minimise any harm to participants.

Another concern was that the ethics committee seemed not to have been made aware of the ruling made by the Advertising Standards Agency in relation to claims made by a practitioner of the Lightning Process.

The point was made that 250 children a year undergo this treatment and a paediatrician had been approached and asked whether the treatment was safe. However there was a concern that parents who believed they must try everything that might be of benefit to their child could feel pressurised to try the treatment. Children could be very vulnerable to inappropriate pressure to say they felt better.

The Group was told that Dr Esther Crawley, the lead for the LP research, had received a large volume of malicious correspondence about her proposals. The Group agreed that this was not an appropriate or acceptable manner in which to demonstrate opposition and confirmed that none of them had been involved. It was suggested that it was activities such as this that drove young researchers from the field.

The Group was told that the research ethics papers submitted for the feasibility study were on the Bristol University website. Some of these papers made the case that M.E. in children was a different illness from M.E. in adults. It was drawn to the Group’s attention that Dundee University (in a biomedical study co-funded by Tymes Trust and Meruk) had discovered the same abnormalities in the blood of children that they had previously found in adults, so in this respect, ME in children was not a different illness from ME in adults. (See item 11)

The Chairman suggested that it was important to look at the recovery period covered by the study because M.E. was a relapsing condition.

1] SMILE – Specialist Medical Intervention and Lightning Evaluation documents (Lightning Process pilot study – children [now aged 12 to 18] with CFS and ME): http://wp.me/p5foE-37x

2] Background to this issue: http://wp.me/p5foE-2Vt

3] All posts on Lightning Process pilot study in children issue: https://meagenda.wordpress.com/category/lightning-process-smile-study/

Response from Joan Kirkbride, NRES (SMILE pilot study in children)

Response from Joan Kirkbride, National Research Ethics Service (complaint in response to ethical approval of SMILE Lighting Process pilot study in children)

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-3da

On Thursday, 4 November, I wrote to Joan Kirkbride, Head of Operations, National Research Ethics Service (NRES).

Re: Concerns in response to the favourable opinion handed down by South West 2 REC in September 2010 to the application from Dr Esther Crawley, Principal Investigator for the SMILE (Specialist Medical Intervention and Lightning Evaluation) pilot study

Study Refs: 10/H0206/32, ASH106264, LIN1750

My letter expanded on some of the concerns I had raised, in August, with the Director of Legal Services, University of Bristol, in a formal request for an Internal Review of the Information Rights Officer’s decision (17 June) to decline to provide certain information on the basis that this information was exempt from disclosure under section 22(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (information intended for future publication). I also included other concerns.

I gave Ms Kirkbride permission for my concerns to be forwarded, in full, to any individuals charged with the scrutiny of complaints in response to the decision to grant the Lightning Process pilot study ethics approval, within the NRES, within South West 2 REC and including the sponsors, Chief Investigator, co-applicants and study funders.

I requested confirmation that my communication had been received and my concerns noted.

Today, I received an acknowledgement from Ms Kirkbride which she has CCd to a colleague who is understood to be involved with the scrutiny of complaints.

I am advised by Ms Kirkbride that:

She has appended a copy of the standard response which NRES is sending to all respondents on this matter.

That she advises that NRES “do feel that they now have sufficient information available to [them] and that no new issues are being raised in correspondence which is being sent to [them] for consideration”.

That she has copied my email to the Chief Investigator and Sponsor as I had given permission to do so.

That I “had raised a number of specific questions outside the remit of NRES where [they] cannot provide a response and the answer to my questions would need to come from either the CI [Chief Investigator] or the sponsor”.

The standard response being issued by NRES is:

“NRES has received the submissions from the ME society [The ME Association] and others concerning the SMILE study, a children’s study investigating treatment of ME in this age group.

“Following our Standard Operating Procedures we have collated the information we’ve received and will work with the REC to consider it.

“Given that this treatment is currently available, ME society survey data suggests it has a similar profile to other therapies and the split opinions in the ME community (this study has the support of particular ME charities who have also been involved in its planning) we feel that a fair way forward is to seek the responses of the researchers, sponsor and the ME charities involved in the development of the study before asking the REC to review its favourable opinion. We also note that in this project, subjects will not be deprived of what is current care in this clinic. Research participants will receive this intervention in addition to their standard treatment.

“We will also be seeking the views of our National Research Ethics Panel.”

 

I am given to understand that at least two others who wrote to Ms Kirkbride, last week, have received similar responses.

Lightning Process pilot study in children (SMILE): request for the funding application documents

Lightning Process pilot study in children (SMILE): request for the funding application documents

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-3cP

Dr Esther Crawley’s research team had secured funding for the controversial Lightning Process pilot study using children as young as 12 from the Linbury Trust and the Ashden Trust, last November. The study received ethics approval this September.

The breakdown for the funding is (from FOI request, 16 May 2010)

a) Value of grant awarded by the Linbury Trust: £120,000
b) Value of grant awarded by the Ashden Trust: £44,000
c) Any other sources of funding for the pilot study: No other funding sources

The Linbury Trust has funded a number of “CFS” studies in the past, including some previous studies by Dr Crawley’s research team.

But the Ashden Trust doesn’t appear to have a history of funding health/medical research. Both trusts are funding arms of the Sainsbury family.

http://www.ashdentrust.org.uk/

http://www.ashdentrust.org.uk/aboutus.html

“The trust’s long-term focus on climate change, sustainable development and improving the quality of life in poorer communities allows us to explore a range of ways to tackle these enormous challenges under six category headings:

•Sustainable Development International
•Sustainable Development UK
•Sustainable Regeneration
•People at Risk
•Arts and Sustainability
•Social Investment Fund”

 

On Monday, I requested the following documents from the University of Bristol’s FOI office, since this material had not been included with the 29 documents published by the University, on 16 September, at:

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/smile.html

so that part of my original FOI request, in May, remained unfulfilled:

1] Copies of the funding application documents submitted to

a) The Linbury Trust

b) The Ashden Trust

including any accompanying documentation that formed part of the applications for funding.

2] Copies of all correspondence associated with the applications for funding.

 

The response has been that there was  no “funding application”, as such; that the study protocol had been submitted to the funders and, in effect, was the funding application.

I have been provided with copies of three letters from the Linbury Trust and Ashden Trust in relation to the funding application (that had previously been disclosed under FOI in response to requests made by others) which I have already posted on this site.

I am advised that there is a typo in the Linbury Trust letter of 8 March 2010 and that the “£120,000” in the opening paragraph should have read “£44,000”.

I am further advised that there is a handwritten note on the Linbury Trust letter of 4 November 2009, stating that a confirmation email was sent on 5/11/09 and that this email from Dr Crawley had read:

“Thank you for your letter informing me that the trustees of the Linbury Trust have agreed to make a grant to support the project: Assessing the feasibility and acceptability of comparing the Lightning Process with specialist medical care for CFS/ME.

“I am delighted that we will be able to do this piece of work and I am very grateful to the Linbury Trust for supporting this work.

“I will be in touch shortly when I know more about who organises the contracts. When the contract is organised, I can start recruiting personnel for the study.”

“Thank you once again.”

 

These are the documents I have been provided with:

Document 1:

4 November 2009  |  Linbury Trust to Dr Esther Crawley  |  Open PDF:  Funding Linbury Trust 04.11.09

Note: The grant is conditional on the project commencing no later than October 2010.

Document 2:

24 November 2009  |  Ashden Trust to Dr Esther Crawley 

Document 3:

8 March 2010  |  Linbury Trust to Dr Esther Crawley

 

The research application had been reviewed by South West 2 REC at a meeting of the committee on 8 July.  Following the meeting, the committee had requested that the applicants make a number of amendments to the text of patient information sheets (PIS) and other documentation. Confirmation of approval of the revisions to the application was given in September.

Since this is all the information relating to the application for funding that has been made available to me, it remains unclear why the Linbury Trust was not in a position to award the full £164,000 for the project and why £44,000 has been provided by the Ashden Trust for a medical research study in children – a field which appears to lie outside the Trust’s usual areas of funding, which are listed on its website as “climate change, sustainable development and improving the quality of life in poorer communities”.

Other than a protocol document, it is unclear how much information about the Lightning Process and how it is carried out was available to the funders in order that they might make informed decisions about whether to fund this study.

 

The SMILE Protocol document (Final July 2010) [pdf (170kb)] can be read here:

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/smilestudydocuments/smprotv6final.pdf

Open here: smprotv6final

 

Correspondence with Ethics Committee can be read here:

20] Initial covering letter to NREC 20th May 2010 [pdf (75kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/covlet20may10.pdf

Open here: covlet20may10

21] NREC Letter 14th June 2010 [pdf (108kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/let14jun.pdf

Open here: let14jun

22] NREC Letter 19th July 2010 [pdf (272kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/let19july.pdf

Open here: let19july

23] Covering letter in reply to NREC 28th July 2010 [pdf (159kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/letrep28july.pdf

Open here: letrep28july

24] NREC Letter 13th August 2010 [pdf (72kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/let13aug.pdf

Open here: let13aug

25] Letter re meeting notes in reply to NREC 19th August 2010 [pdf (45kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/letmetn19aug.pdf

Open here: letmetn19aug

26] Second covering letter reply to NREC 20th August 2010 [pdf (109kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/seclet20aug10.pdf

Open here: seclet20aug10

27] Letter in reply to NREC 13th September 2010 [pdf ( 80kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/let13sep.pdf

Open here: let13sep

28] NREC Approval letter 14th September 2010 [pdf (213kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/applet14sep10.pdf

Open here: applet14sep10

29] REC Form [pdf (353kb)]

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/recfrmrfs.pdf

Open here: recfrmrfs

 

All other published SMILE documents including Patient Information Sheets, Consent forms and Assessment Form, can be read from this post:

SMILE – Specialist Medical Intervention and Lightning Evaluation documents

AYME welcomes ethical approval of Bath/Bristol Lightning Process pilot study in children (SMILE)

AYME welcomes ethical approval of Bath/Bristol Lightning Process pilot study in children (SMILE)

November 1, 2010 by Suzy Chapman

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-3cq

In the November edition of LINK Newsletter (Issue 40), the Association of Young People with M.E. (AYME) has welcomed the decision by South West 2 Research Ethics Committee to grant ethical approval for the controversial pilot study around the application of the Lightning Process in children as young as 12.

Lead researcher for the SMILE study (Specialist Medical Intervention and Lightning Evaluation), Dr Esther Crawley,  is AYME’s Medical Consultant.

To date, no rigorous RCTs have been undertaken into the safety, acceptability, short and long-term efficacy of the Lightning Process in adults.

In a joint press release issued in August, two national ME patient organisations – The ME Association and The Young ME Sufferers Trust –  condemned the study as “unethical” and called for the project to be abandoned.

In a position statement issued in March, Action for M.E. had said it saw “no reason to oppose this pilot study”.

But in August, Sir Peter Spencer, CEO of Bristol based Action for M.E., disclosed that “Action for M.E. has not seen the research protocol for this proposal and has no detailed knowledge of the way in which this trial would be conducted if approved.”

Sir Peter Spencer is a non-executive director of the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, NHS Foundation Trust – Dr Esther Crawley’s employer and the hospital where this research study is being undertaken.

The study hopes to recruit around 90 children aged between 12 to 18 and is expected to start this month. Half the patient cohort will undergo a three day course of the Lightning Process.

According to the NHS REC IRAS application form, the SMILE study Protocol and other SMILE study documents published on the University of Bristol website in September:

Ethical issues   The Lightning Process is popular with over 250 children with CFS/ME attending courses each year. There is therefore an urgent need to study this intervention properly.”

“There are currently no reported studies investigating the effectiveness or side effects of the Lightning Process in children. As with all interventions, proper evaluation is necessary if it is to be brought into mainstream practice.”

“CFS/ME is different in children and adults with different risk factors [15-17], course and outcome [18]. It is therefore not possible to complete a study in adults and extrapolate the results to children.”

“The need for doing a study properly evaluating the Lightning Process came from patients and service users. Representatives from the Association of Young people with ME (AYME) have read, and suggested changes to the protocol and methodology. Service users publicized the research project and are keen to disseminate the findings.”

“The PIS [Participant Information Sheet] follows the NRES recommended layout and has adopted the NRES recommendations for children. We have also tested the PIS on healthy teenagers who reported that it was clear to read. Members of the patient charity AYME have scrutinised the PIS and also felt it was clear to read.”

“Healthy teenagers have scrutinized the patient information sheets and consent forms. The Chief Executive of AYME will be on the External Advisory Group.”

“As this is only a feasibility study, participants will not be individually informed of the outcome. However, the results from the feasibility study will be disseminated through patient charities.”

In a response to the ME Association, published on 28 October, Joan Kirkbride, Head of Operations, NRES (National Research Ethics Service), has written:

“Given that this treatment is currently available, ME Association survey data suggests it has a similar profile to other therapies and the split opinions in the ME community (this study has the support of particular ME charities who have also been involved in its planning), we feel that a fair way forward is to seek the responses of the researchers, sponsor and the ME charities involved in the development of the study before asking the REC to review its favourable opinion.”

I have submitted a FOI request, due for fulfilment on or before 25 November, for the provision of:

1] The names of all patient organisations who have been involved in the planning/development of the SMILE pilot study.

2] The names of all members of the External Advisory Group and the organisations with which they are associated, where applicable.

AYME LINK Issue 40

www.aymelink.org

November 2010

Association of Young People with M.E.

Research study to investigate a chronic childhood condition

A favourable Ethical opinion has been given to a feasibility study which will see if it is possible to look at two different approaches to the intervention and treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome/ME (CFS/ME) in children.

The project called SMILE (Specialist Medical Intervention and Lightning Evaluation) aims to find out if it is feasible to recruit young people into a study to compare specialist medical treatment with specialist medical treatment plus the Lightning Process for young people with chronic fatigue syndrome or ME (CFS/ME).

The research team will be led by AYME’s medical advisor, Dr Esther Crawley, Consultant Senior Lecturer in the University of Bristol’s Centre for Child and Adolescent Health and Consultant Paediatrician at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases NHS Foundation Trust and is funded by the Linbury Trust and the Ashden Trust.

AYME is aware that there are concerns from families about The Phil Parker Lightning Process®.

However, around 250 children a year are already receiving the treatment, and it seems clear that large numbers will continue to do so. Many of the families that AYME supports have asked us about LP and it has been frustrating for us to be able to give them only limited information.

We therefore, welcome this feasibility study to see whether a future study is possible. In addition, AYME is pleased to see the study group are looking at how much health resources young people with ME use and are also investigating the measures clinicians use to look at outcome. If the study is successful, not only will the team be able to apply for funding for a larger study to look at effectiveness, but they will also have a lot of data on the cost of CFS/ME as well as what we need to measure in future research.

It is important to realise that only a larger study in the future will be able to investigate whether LP is effective or not which will enable children and young people and their parents and carers and to make an informed choice about LP. The study is using a mixture of interview techniques to understand what young people think about both interventions, including actually observing and comparing both interventions in order to understand more about them. The fact that all young people will be closely monitored by both the clinical and research team is reassuring.

Esther Crawley said: “We are doing this study because so many young people with ME and their families asked us for this. We are very grateful we can now go ahead and start to answer some of the questions they have been asking”.

The Phil Parker Lightning Process® is an intervention that is used for a variety of conditions including CFS/ME and has been developed from osteopathy, coaching and neuro-linguistic programming. It is a three-day training programme run by registered practitioners and designed to teach individuals a new set of techniques for improving life and health.

Phil Parker, designer of the Lightning Process said: “It is vitally important that all interventions that could assist children with CFS/ME to return to school and improve their health are explored”.

What ethical review has SMILE received?

The study has been scrutinised by the South West 2 Research Ethics Committee whose role it is to ensure that research is safe and ethically sound. The ethics committee has looked in detail at the study design, and all associated documentation and suggested improvements to the readability and accessibility of the patient information leaflets and consent forms which have been adopted.

The SMILE study is compliant with Good Clinical Practice Guidelines, Research Governance Framework, Medical Research Council guidelines, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health guidelines for the conduct of trials and has been approved by an ethics committee.

Further information about this research project, including frequently asked questions can be found at the URL:

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/smile.html

 

Key SMILE documents

SMILE Research Protocol

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/smilestudydocuments/smprotv6final.pdf

Open here: smprotv6final

Research Ethics  Application Form

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/recfrmrfs.pdf

Open here: recfrmrfs

All published SMILE documents here:

Specialist Medical Intervention and Lightning Evaluation documents (Lightning Process pilot study – children [now aged 12 to 18] with CFS and ME)

Which patient organisations were involved in the development of the SMILE pilot study?

Which ME and CFS patient organisations were involved in the development of the SMILE Lightning Process pilot study in children 12 to 18 years?

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-3c8

In her response to the ME Association, Joan Kirkbride, Head of Operations, NRES, has said:

Given that this treatment is currently available, ME Association survey data suggests it has a similar profile to other therapies and the split opinions in the ME community (this study has the support of particular ME charities who have also been involved in its planning), we feel that a fair way forward is to seek the responses of the researchers, sponsor and the ME charities involved in the development of the study before asking the REC to review its favourable opinion. We also note that in this project, subjects will not be deprived of what is current care in this clinic. Research participants will receive this intervention in addition to their standard treatment.

It is already known from the SMILE Research Protocol document that AYME has a seat on the External Advisory Group. But Ms Kirkbride’s statement suggests that more than one patient organisation may have been involved in the planning and development of this controversial pilot study.

On 24 August, I had written to Sir Peter Spencer (CEO, Action for M.E.) with a query in relation to two published position statements issued by the organisation on the proposed Lightning Process pilot study:

I had asked:

[…]

To date, there is virtually no information in the public domain about the proposed study design and methods and the research protocol is not expected to be published until the end of this month.

a) What is Action for M.E.’s understanding of what will be applied to the children during the life of the pilot study and by whom?

Where has it obtained the information on which it has based its decision to support this pilot study and to support any decision by the ethics committee(s) to grant a “favourable opinion”, ie, to approve the application?

b) Would Action for M.E. please set out what information it has relied upon in order to inform its position on this pilot and whether the organisation has made any approaches to the researchers or to any other body to obtain information about the proposed study over and above the press release, and what was the outcome of any approaches made?

Sir Peter Spencer’s response (24 August):

Our position derives from our detailed reading of the MRC Ethics Guide for medical research involving children and from our understanding of the role of any ethics committee in satisfying itself that appropriate independent arrangements are in place to ensure patient safety.”

Action for M.E. has not seen the research protocol for this proposal and has no detailed knowledge of the way in which this trial would be conducted if approved.

We do, of course, want to see research into LP in adults too – but as children are already seeing LP practitioners, before the process has been subject to research published in respected peer-reviewed journals, we can see a case for investigating if it is feasible within the Ethics Guide to set up a controlled trial.

Yesterday, 28 October, I submitted a request for information to the University of Bristol’s Information Rights Office and will update when this request has been fulfilled.  I have asked for:

1] The names of all patient organisations who have been involved in the planning/development of the SMILE pilot study.

2] The names of all members of the External Advisory Group and the organisations with which they are associated, where applicable.

Key SMILE documents

SMILE Research Protocol

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/smilestudydocuments/smprotv6final.pdf

Open here: smprotv6final

Research Ethics  Application Form

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ccah/research/childrencomplexhealthneeds/chronic-fatigue/correspondencewithethics/recfrmrfs.pdf

Open here: recfrmrfs

All published SMILE documents in this post:

Specialist Medical Intervention and Lightning Evaluation documents (Lightning Process pilot study – children [now aged 12 to 18] with CFS and ME)

Response from NRES following complaints about Lightning Process trial

Response from Joan Kirkbride, Head of Operations, NRES, following complaints about Lightning Process pilot study in children

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-3c2

ME Association  |  28 October 2010

Lightning Process trial and the National Research Ethics Service

The ME Association has written to the National Research Ethics Service (NRES) to ask them to clarify what action they are taking, or may be taking, in relation to concerns that are being expressed about this trial.

We have today received a reply from Joan Kirkbride, Head of Operations at NRES – part of which contains the following generic acknowledgement for correspondence relating to this trial:

“NRES has received the submissions from the ME Association and others concerning the SMILE study, a children’s study investigating treatment of ME in this age group.

“Following our Standard Operating Procedures, we have collated the information we’ve received and will work with the REC to consider it.

“Given that this treatment is currently available, ME Association survey data suggests it has a similar profile to other therapies and the split opinions in the ME community (this study has the support of particular ME charities who have also been involved in its planning), we feel that a fair way forward is to seek the responses of the researchers, sponsor and the ME charities involved in the development of the study before asking the REC to review its favourable opinion. We also note that in this project, subjects will not be deprived of what is current care in this clinic. Research participants will receive this intervention in addition to their standard treatment.

“We will also be seeking the views of our National Research Ethics Panel.

Joan Kirkbride
Head of Operations, England
National Research Ethics Service (NRES), National Patient Safety Agency
Darlington Primary Care Trust, Dr Piper House
King Street, DARLINGTON, DL3 6JL”

MEA editorial note: REC – in paragraphs two and three of Joan Kirkbride’s letter – stands for Regional Ethics Committee.

 

Ed: Dr Esther Crawley is the Medical Consultant to AYME and AYME has a seat on the pilot study Advisory Group. Action for M.E. had denied any knowledge about the design of the pilot study. Where Ms Kirkbride refers to “the ME charities involved in the development of the study” it is unclear which patient organisations are being referred to.

RiME: Commentary on APPG on ME Inquiry into NHS Service Provision for ME/CFS, March 2010

RiME: Commentary on APPG on ME Inquiry into NHS Service Provision for ME/CFS, March 2010

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5foE-39y

From Paul Davis RiME Campaigning for Research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

16 September 2010

APPG on ME Inquiry into NHS Service Provision for ME/CFS March 2010

There is a link to the full Report on the RiME Website, see NHS Services Inquiry folder.

The Report was signed by five members of the APPG on ME: Des Turner MP (Chair), Tony Wright MP, Andrew Stunell MP, Peter Luff MP, Lady Mar.

Note: The Committee on Standards in Public Life promotes, ‘high standards in the public sphere through the seven principles… ‘: they include: objectivity and honesty. Have these criteria been met?

Paul Davis paul641@talktalk.net   www.rime.me.uk

RiME Condemns APPG Inquiry Report

Problems re. Nomenclature and Classification

In the Foreward P.3 Des Turner writes, ‘… The APPG accepts the WHO Classification of ME (ICD G93.3) as a neurological condition… ‘ However, if one flicks to the back of the Report, 14 out of the 24 sources refer to Government Reports (1), with the Royal College of GP’s Report, connected to CMO Report and NICE Guidelines, being used seven times; sources which are not about the illness described by G93.3. The Inquiry Group also received evidence from PCTs: but ME patients complain that clinics set up following the CMO Report are not about ME; the clinics in Kent, for example, exclude patients with neurological illness; so, is the evidence from PCTs accurate or relevant as far as ME is concerned?

The Terms of Reference say (P. 21):

ME is classified as a neurological illness under the World Health Organisation classification (ICD G93.3). However the NHS largely uses the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome instead of ME or else adopts the hybrid CFS/ME in diagnosing and treating patients. Terminology is a contentious matter. It has some bearing on this inquiry because to only use the precise WHO classification of ME above will impede access to information from the NHS that is crucial to the success of this inquiry…

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