Initiated by MEadvocacy.org
To: Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Avindra Nath, and Dr. Brian T. Walitt at NIH and Dr. Tom Frieden and Dr. Elizabeth Unger at CDC
We, the undersigned, call on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to immediately cancel the proposed NIH intramural clinical study using the 2005 empirical Reeves criteria. In addition, we call on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cancel Dr. Avindra Nath’s presentation of the aforementioned study at CDC’s Grand Rounds on February 16, 2016.
The Reeves definition is seriously flawed. It is a definition that was never accepted by mainstream science. It was in fact rejected by CFSAC in a formal recommendation. The design of this criteria used dubious questionnaires, with no stakeholders input and should have never been used since it was rejected by our experts. In addition, this proposed intramural small scale study is uniquely focused on persistent fatigue following an infection - not on the neuroimmune disease that patients with ME suffer from.
This study contradicts Dr. Collins’ statement to the patient community - “I am hopeful that renewed research focus will lead us toward identifying the cause of this perplexing and debilitating disease so that new prevention and treatment strategies can be developed.”
Furthermore, the dissemination of this flawed information by Dr. Nath at the CDC’s Grand Rounds on February 16, will deliver misinformation to thousands of clinicians nationwide who will be attending and listening in to the program. They will falsely assume that ME is just ‘persistent fatigue’ and it will perpetuate their tendency to marginalize, mistreat and neglect ME patients’ true severe symptoms.
As it states in the preface to the 2011 International Consensus Criteria, written by ME experts: “There is a poignant need to untangle the web of confusion caused by mixing diverse and often overly inclusive patient populations in one heterogeneous, multi-rubric pot called ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’. We believe this is the foremost cause of diluted and inconsistent research findings, which hinders progress, fosters skepticism, and wastes limited research monies.”
If NIH follows through with this study as is, it will propagate, aggravate and cause immeasurable harm to the estimated one million American ME patients, and will likely also negatively impact the estimated 17 million ME patients worldwide.
In place of this proposed study on idiopathic fatigue, we want NIH to initiate an intramural study whose protocol is pre-approved by ME expert researchers and contains stakeholder input. This study will be of ME patients diagnosed with our expert created ME criteria. This process must be transparent and communicated to the patient community.
The petition’s deadline for signatures is Sunday February 14th, at midnight. The petition will be sent out on Monday morning February 15th.
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