Don't reject evidence from CFS therapies

University of Oxford, UK.

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Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s School of Medicine, London, UK.

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University of Edinburgh, UK.

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We welcome your article on research into chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or systemic exertion intolerance disease (see Nature 553, 14–17; 2018). In our view, however, you underestimate the benefits of current treatments: namely, graded exercise and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

As you point out, people with the disease often feel ignored or dismissed by the medical profession — a situation that, as clinicians, we deplore. It is regrettable that some patients and others link behavioural treatments with dismissal of a person’s condition, when in fact these therapies can be beneficial. Aside from the results of the PACE trial you mention (co-authored by two of us, T.C. and M.S., among others), further scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of interventions such as exercise and CBT (see, for example, L. Larun et al. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev.; 2017 and J. R. Price et al. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev.; 2008).

We think that patients deserve the best research and treatments. In our view, there is no place for stigmatizing any avenue of research or therapy that might help us to improve the lives of people with this long-term debilitating illness.

Nature 554, 31 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-01285-x

Competing Financial Interests

M.S. has received royalties from academic writing. T.C. has received royalties from self-help books. J.S. has received royalties from academic writing and payments for acting as an independent medical expert.

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