UPDATE: NIH has taken down the article from their website! Thanks everyone for participating! There is no longer a need to send emails to NIH and HealthDay.
Medline Plus, NIH’s web site for patients, just published an article from health news distributor Healthday, based on the recent, discredited U.K. PACE study. The new article states that “cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy are among the best available treatments for extended relief” of ME/CFS.
Medline Plus and Healthday are, respectively, “the world’s largest medical library” and “a leading producer and syndicator of evidence-based health news, used by thousands of media companies, hospitals, managed care organizations, publishers, non-profits and government agencies”. So it’s particularly disturbing to see them legitimizing CBT and GET. NIH’s publication of this article also adds the U.S. Government’s stamp of approval, which thereby calls into question NIH’s recent, more positive movements on ME/CFS.
Fortunately, if you want to complain to these two organizations, it’s super easy:
1. Open the website https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155858.html
2. Go to “About” and click on “Contact Us”. Fill out the webform. (If doing this also opens a survey box, that’s another place to complain.)
3. Go to healthday.com.
4. Click on “How it Works” and scroll to the bottom of the page.
5. Click on “Get in touch with HealthDay editors now”. Fill out the webform.
Here’s a sample letter I wrote. Feel free to copy and paste at will.
“I strongly urge you to rescind your new article, “Chronic Fatigue Therapies Provide Some With Long-Term Relief,” about treatments for ME/CFS. The article is based on a flawed British study that recently has been completely discredited by journalist David Tuller and others. Numerous articles have been published detailing the overwhelming ethical and scientific flaws in the study’s research and methodologies. As a result, there has been an enormous backlash in the ME/CFS academic, research, medical provider, and patient communities. You are doing a huge disservice to your readership — and potential physical harm to patients — by publishing this article. I strongly urge you to rescind it immediately. Thank you.”
FYI, this is the reply I received from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), aka Medline Plus:
“In response to your message about a MedlinePlus news article on CFS, our news items come from an outside provider. NLM does not write the news stories; your editorial comments can be directed to the news service, HealthDay: http://www.healthday.com/.
Cathy Sorge, MSLS
NIH Contractor Librarian
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
1-888-346-3656 (within US)
If you get a similar response, you are welcome to copy and paste my response to them:
“Thanks much for your message. I understand that your news items come from an outside provider and that NLM does not write the news stories itself. However, you still have a responsibility to verify the articles you publish and to make sure that you aren’t publishing false and harmful information, as is the case here. In this situation, you also now have a responsibility to remove the problem article and publish a correction. I look forward to your response on this matter.”
Thanks much for making your voice heard and making a difference!