Denmark Parliament Holds Query on ME

#MEAction supports people with ME in Denmark today as the Danish Parliament discusses the treatment of people with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

On Tuesday, March 12th a query about the treatment of people with ME will take place in the Danish Parliament.

The question being asked is: What initiatives does the government intend to launch for the approximately 14,000 patients suffering from ME fatigue syndrome? 

Physical Training as Treatment

In Denmark, the current official recommended treatment for ME is graded exercise therapy, based on the deconditioning hypotheses of illness. Treatment guidelines for ME are written in the Physical Exercise as Treatment handbook*, which states that GET is not harmful for ME patients. This guideline is what all doctors are referred to, and is the basis of all ME treatment at the Functional Somatic Syndromes clinics, where ME is housed.

The director of the Danish Health Authority, Søren Brostrøm, considers ME a psychiatric illness, and classifies the disease as a functional disorder. Read his viewpoint here, described in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

During the actual debate, the members can make proposals for adoption, which the parliament must vote on when the inquiry debate is complete. Only one proposal for adoption can be adopted during each debate, and when one proposal is adopted, the others will lapse.

Only one amendment can be adopted and the vote will be on March 14th.

The politicians that have asked the question are all from Danish People’s Party (DF) and are:  Liselott Blixt (DF), Karina Adsbøl (DF), Jeppe Jakobsen (DF) and Merete Dea Larsen (DF).

You can find the inquiry here.

Read a brief description here, and see the link of facts shared by ME Foreningen – ME Association, Denmark ahead of this discussion.

*The Physical Exercise as Treatment guidelines give two possible mechanisms for the cause of ME.

  1. Deconditioning. They state, “It is likely that the patient will achieve a psychological effect by
    discovering that physical activity does not necessarily lead to further fatigue.”
  2. Oversensitive nervous system, and claim that exercise will help desensitize the nervous system.

They guidelines state that there is “no evidence of aggravation of symptoms after gradual exercise therapy, but
since some people fear it, they may need counseling to overcome the fear of exercise.”

The guidelines state: “Other patient groups also show pronounced intolerance to physical activity, like for example patients with heart failure and COPD. However, these patient groups are trainable and overall, there is no evidence to exclude persons who meet the IOM criteria from gradual physical training.”

The guidelines point to the PACE trial and the Cochrane review as evidence for GET.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Denmark Parliament Holds Query on ME”

  1. It is staggering to see the belief in GET continues despite challenges that have revealed poor science underpinning the treatment. Kaiser Permanente the biggest managed care organisation in the USA has recognised offering GET is entirely unhelpful. It has questioned how the treatment ever came to be recognised. They have been open enough to change radically what they will offer to their clients. They want to offer the best treatment and not stick doggedly to a dogma that has lost its power. I hope someone in Denmark can rise up to do the same

  2. I sure hope they figure out how to treat the tens of thousands of people with ME who discover that physical activity DOES necessarily lead to further fatigue!

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