Journal of IiME Volume 9 Issue 1 May 2015 ME: The Last and The Next Ten Years What a difference a decade makes in medicine - - or does it? The two camps in the ME/CFS “battle” remain as far apart as ever, to the continuing detriment of patients and also to the State’s limited resources: it is currently claimed that the cost of “CFS” to the UK economy is up to £3.5 billion per annum. One camp consists of biomedical scientists and clinicians whose research shows that ME is an organic multi-system neuro-immune disorder with protean symptomatology; some consider it likely to be an autoimmune disease with the target organ being the vascular endothelium. The other camp consists of a small but influential group of UK psychiatrists and insurance doctors (known colloquially as the “Wessely School”) who remain convinced that what they refer to as “CFS/ME” is a psychogenic condition where reported symptoms result not from organic disease but from patients' maladaptive beliefs and behaviour, and that the condition can be fully reversed by graded exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy. Currently we are at a tipping point, because the “behavioural” camp is slowly but surely being unseated. In the last ten years the quintessence of the ME battleground in the UK has been the focus on pseudoscience, but there is at last a transition underway from pseudoscience to scientific medicine. Here are some facts, all easily verifiable: Since 2005, ME has been included in the UK National Service Framework for long-term neurological conditions. On 30th January 2006 the then Health Minister, Lord Warner, said on the record: “There is only one World Health Organisation International Classification of Diseases code for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, which is G93.3” (HL3612). About the Author Margaret Williams has been a prolific writer on the subject of ME over the last two decades or more. Her thorough and meticulous commentaries on the inaccuracies, bias and often farcical claims of the psychosocial lobby have aided the ME community in destroying the myths and spin which has been allowed to foster by establishment organisations. A great debt is owed to Margaret Williams for her dedication and professional input to science for the benefit of all people with ME and their families On 2nd June 2008 the Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham) stated: “My Lords, the Government accept the World Health Organisation’s classification of CFS/ME as a neurological condition….My Lords, I have acknowledged that CFS/ME is a neurological condition” (HLPQ: Health: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). On 21st November 2011 Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, confirmed in a letter to the Countess of Mar that the Department for Work and Pensions does not consider ME/CFS to be a mental disorder. The letter was unequivocal: “The Department of Health has indicated that they have ‘always relied on the definition set out by the World Health Organisation in its International Classification of diseases (ICD) under ICD code G93.3, subheading other disorders of the brain’. The DWP is in agreement with this view. Therefore, for the avoidance of doubt, I can be clear that the Department does not classify CFS/ME as a mental health disorder”. Despite Ministers’ clear pronouncements, given that key members of the “behavioural” camp have acquired formidable powers and have Invest in ME (Charity Nr. 1114035) www.investinme.org Page 17 of 57

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