Trial By Error: So What’s Happening With The MAGENTA Trial ?

David Tuller


By David Tuller, DrPH.


I’ll be in Bristol later this week for the CFS/ME Research Collaborative’s annual conference. I was not welcome last year, since I was at that point engaged in harshly criticizing the organization for its unwillingness to acknowledge that its deputy chair had falsely accused me of libel. This year, things have changed and both the chair and the new deputy chair have graciously welcomed me.

In any event, given the proximity of the conference to the University of Bristol, it seemed like a good time to take another look at some of the problematic research conducted on children at that august institution. In my past scrutiny of this work, I have focused on a school absence study, a study of the Lightning Process, the ongoing study of online CBT called FITNET-NHS, and various prevalence studies—all of them deeply flawed.

I haven’t paid much or any attention to the ongoing MAGENTA trial. (Full name: Managed Activity Graded Exercise in Teenagers and Pre-Adolescents). But commenters on the Science for ME forum have recently noted that the MAGENTA investigators had folded a feasibility trial into the full trial—a similar strategy to that pursued by the investigators of the Lightning Process study. This prompted me to take a look.


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