Trial By Error: My Latest Letter To Archives Of Disease In Childhood

David Tuller


By David Tuller, DrPH


I sent the following e-mail today to Dr Nick Brown, the editor-in-chief of Archives of Disease in Childhood, the journal that published the Lightning Process study a year ago. I cc’d Dr Fiona Godlee, editorial director of BMJ, which publishes Archives.


Dear Dr Brown—

As you know, I have been requesting since January that Archives of Disease in Childhood address the methodological and ethical lapses that I have documented in a study published last year. The study was a clinical trial of the Lightning Process in children with chronic fatigue syndrome, otherwise known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, CFS/ME or ME/CFS.

As I have noted, the study has provided Lightning Process practitioners with an opportunity to cite the Archives paper as evidence that this woo-woo intervention is effective. Worried parents are undoubtedly spending money they don’t have in a desperate effort to help their children. Given that this clinical trial involves an extremely vulnerable demographic group, the journal’s inability or unwillingness to resolve the matter promptly is disturbing. It creates the impression that Archives and BMJ are more concerned about reputational damage than about ensuring that children receive medical care based on legitimate and robust research.


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