Professor Malcolm Hooper's Response to the Inquiry Press release
of 1 December 2005
Response by Professor
Malcolm Hooper to Press Release and Terms of Reference
spoke today, Friday December 2nd, for the first time to Ian Woodcroft
providing secretarial support for the Inquiry.
was impressed by Ian's commitment and industry but concerned that he is already
facing a mammoth task that threatens to overwhelm him.
As I indicated in my Outline Proposals, 2nd Nov
2005, the Inquiry will be faced with huge amounts of correspondence and
electronic evidence from large numbers of people.
The job is too large for one individual so I would
counsel more support for Ian who I realise is taking on this work in addition to
his normal duties for Tony Wright.
Terms of Reference
spoke to Ian to obtain clarification of the TORs which are the subject of
considerable concern among ME sufferers, carers and supporters. My understanding
was that the suggested TORs had not yet finalised.
It was, therefore, a big surprise to receive an
e-mail of the Press Release which includes the TORs.
These are not in agreement with our first
discussions and have set limits on the Inquiry that greatly distress and alarm
There is no mention some of fundamental issues we
discussed and no
mention of the need for the voice of patients and carers to be an integral and
essential part of the Inquiry's investigations.
I suggest the following which I believe meets the requirements of a transparent,
comprehensive, and open Inquiry such as you envisaged when we first met.
To examine and clarify issues around
disease classification and
terminology which are essential for
diagnosis, treatment, research studies and benefit and insurance
To increase public understanding and
awareness of ME/CFS.
To evaluate research evidence
concerning the nature of ME/CFS,
especially in the light of the
strongly contrasting views of the illness -
a. The biological basis of the
b. The psychiatric/psychological
understanding of the illness
Examine key questions of diagnosis,
treatment- including treatment centres, patients' needs and care,
support for patients and carers.
Evaluate research funding and
provision in the light of the
previous and current research studies
and deeper understanding of the illness.
am aware that the proposed TORs circulating on the Internet make reference to
"research progress since the CMO's Working Group in 2002".
This is far too prescriptive since the CMO's WG and the MRC which lies behind it
are both part of the many problems currently experienced by the ME community.
Both the CMO's WG and the MRC have ignored reams
of evidence that was submitted to them previously and their reports and advice
represent a huge degree of ignorance about the illness that some see as
deliberate and partisan.
To use such a cut-off point has already provoked
outrage and charge of a sell out to the establishment which I would want to
crucial point concerning terminology is the use of myalgic encephalopathy (ME)
as an alternative to myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) that is already muddying the
debate as I explained in my e-mail of Nov 23rd concerning the EDM.
[Unfortunately, due to the clock on my laptop needing to be reset this e-mail
was dated September 2005.]
I suggest that to avoid any confusion or accusations of complicity and duplicity
with regard to the correspondence of the Inquiry that ONLY the following terms
are used in full.
(Myalgic encephalomyelitis), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), PVFS (Post Viral
Fatigue Syndrome). These terms are the only ones found in the WHO ICD-10
classification of the illness and the only ones with valid scientific and legal
definition and meaning.
The Press Release does not include ME in full as myalgic
encephalomyelitis, as I had recommended, for clarity and the avoidance of doubt,
to Ian Woodcroft in our telephone conversation.
Members of the Inquiry Team
This is another fundamental issue. In my judgement it is imperative that the
names, affiliations, possible vested interests and allegiances of ALL the
members of the Inquiry are known as soon as possible. This will make the work of
the Inquiry transparent and provide vital information to the wider ME community.
Evidence from International Authorities who are working on Myalgic
is important that the Inquiry hears the views of internationally respected
researchers who have worked for many years in this field. To that end we would
advocate a video link that would allow at least the following to present
evidence to the Inquiry.
From the USA -
Professor A Komaroff, University of Harvard, USA.
Dr Nancy Klimas, University of Miami, USA.
Professor L Jason, De Paul University , Chicago, USA.
Dr K De Meirleir, Vrije University, Brussels,
For this to be planned effectively the date(s) of
the Inquiry need to be set as soon as possible and technical assistance will be
In the interests of the
transparency we have both espoused and following the publication of the press
release I am arranging for this reply to be posted on various ME web sites.
Comments? Please email us - click