From Centre for Welfare Reform.
A Special Issue of the Journal of Health Psychology on the PACE Trial, is to be published and freely available online on Monday 31 July 2017. It marks a special contribution of the Journal of Health Psychology to the literature concerning interventions to manage chronic health problems. The PACE trial debate illustrates what can happen when researchers become entrenched in a particular point of view, and fail to engage in constructive exchange with critics and stakeholders. It reveals an unwillingness of the Co-Principal Investigators of the trial to engage in authentic discussion and debate. It leads one to question the wisdom of such a large investment from the public purse (£5 million) on what is a textbook example of a poorly done trial.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a controversial and poorly understood disease that blights the lives of over 250,000 people in the UK and 1.0M Americans. People with ME experience a dramatic decrease in their stamina for ordinary physical and cognitive activities, a characteristic dramatic increase in symptoms after minimal physical or cognitive exertion called post-exertional malaise, and a myriad of symptoms including sleep dysfunction, orthostatic intolerance and cognitive dysfunction as well as fatigue and pain. Normal activities like walking, showering, having a conversation or writing an email can leave people shattered for days or weeks or may simply be impossible. Most people with ME cannot work and 25% are confined to their homes or beds. The PACE Trial sought to test if two therapies, a talking therapy called ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ (CBT) and exercise in the form of ‘Graded Exercise Therapy’ (GET),
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