Trial By Error: More CBT Research From Sir Simon And Professor Chalder



By David Tuller, DrPH

(*Thanks to the the very informed discussion–and discussants–on the Science For ME forum for alerting me to this study and its many problems!)

In 2011, Professor Trudie Chalder declared at a press conference for the high-profile PACE trial that twice as many chronic fatigue syndrome patients who received cognitive behavior therapy and graded exercise therapy got “back to normal” compared to those in the two comparison arms. Although the statement was a dramatic misrepresentation of the findings just reported in The Lancet, Professor Chalder’s comments received international media attention and helped her and and her co-investigators position the trial as a success.

Her longtime colleague at King’s College London, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, has made comparably questionable assertions. For one, he called the PACE trial “a thing of beauty”—even though it violated core principles of scientific inquiry. Despite Sir Simon’s bountiful appreciation of PACE’s aesthetic qualities, much of the international scientific community has rejected the study’s findings.


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