By Cort Johnson
“Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a biological disease” Dr. Ian Lipkin’s Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University
From NIH Director Francis Collins’ high profile blog “Moving Toward Answers in ME/CFS“, to the New York Times Opinion piece “Getting It Wrong on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” exposing the failures of the PACE trial, to the coverage of the Australians’ search for a biomarker, the chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) community has been treated to some excellent press lately.
Now comes a piece “Biological underpinnings of chronic fatigue syndrome begin to emerge” from the news section of Nature, one of the world’s most read and most prestigious scientific journals. The article, written by Amy Maxmen, proclaims that a “shift” from viewing ME/CFS as psychosomatic to viewing it as a real disorder has occurred.
The article is a far cry from some of sentiments of the “Life After XMRV” piece Nature did in 2011 in which Simon Wessely asserted that the patients’ reactions to that finding would lead another generation of researchers to avoid ME/CFS research. (He rather memorably suggested that researchers would rather “work on images of Mohammed” than study it.) Even advocates for the disease, though, worried that the controversy would turn off researchers. Others, however, felt that the XMRV finding would galvanize researchers to use new technologies to understand ME/CFS.
They were right. Wessely, it appears, was wrong.
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