By David Tuller, DrPH
It’s been ten years since The Lancet published the first results of the PACE trial. Wow!
Ten years ago, I was 54 years old and still a graduate student in public health at UC Berkeley. I was also busy writing stories for The New York Times about the mouse retrovirus research that had roiled the field of research into chronic fatigue syndrome—the then-standard name for the illness now referred to as ME/CFS by US government agencies. The mouse retrovirus, XMRV, turned out to be a lab contaminant. The story had struck such a nerve at least in part because of long-standing and lingering speculations that a retrovirus could be involved—a position that retains some strong adherents.
At the PACE press conference, Professor Trudie Chalder, one of the three lead investigators, told a blatant untruth. She declared that more than twice as many participants in the cognitive behavior therapy and graded exercise therapy intervention groups got “back to normal.” This statement was a dramatic misrepresentation of the actual findings. As far as I have seen, Professor Chalder has never explained or apologized for this false claim, which led to international headlines touting the success of the trial. Her failure to correct the public record in a timely fashion remains a disgraceful abrogation of her professional responsibilities.
To read the rest of this story, click on the link below: