Now that the CDC has dropped GET (Graded Exercise Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), will NICE (the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence) get with the programme and follow suit?
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention used to recommend two controversial treatments for ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Graded Exercise Therapy: a program of increasing exercise and activity, and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. In early July, the CDC removed treatment information for GET and CBT from the main section on its website.
A flawed study
UK psychiatrists developed the two therapies decades ago when they believed ME/CFS was “in the mind” and an influential study called the PACE trial costing 5 million pounds paid for by UK tax payers, the largest ever for the illness reported that patients improved and could even recover from the two treatments.
However, patients and activists disputed these claims as many found that following the GET programme actually made them worse and left them bedridden and in wheel chairs.
The truth about GET revealed
The activists issued a freedom of information act requesting details of the PACE trials which was originally denied but after going to court some of the trials data was released. The data was damning for the trials team of psychiatrists as it showed that information had been manipulated partway through to make the treatments success rate much higher than it actually should be.
Since the PACE trial discovery there has been widespread media coverage condemning the study and almost a full edition of the journey of health psychology dedicated to the PACE trial failures. This has led to major disputes between psychiatrists with some quitting their jobs in defiance.
Not a psychological illness
To make matters worse for the psychiatrists that believed ME/CFS was a psychological illness, this week a major breakthrough was made when Stanford Scientists found a cellular biological marker identifying ME/CFS as an Auto Immune Inflammatory Disease. A biological marker or biomarker (identified as genetic marker) is a DNA sequence that causes disease.
Taking all this into consideration ME/CFS sufferers are hoping that NICE will reconsider its recommendation for GET and CBT as the primary treatment for the disease. NICE are currently reviewing the listing and it was believed that no alteration was going to be made. However considering the CDC’s removal of GET and CBT and since all this new evidence has come to light, with a petition including 15,000 signatures from the ME Association then surely they cannot just turn a blind eye and carry on recommending psychological treatments?