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Prof. Sir Simon Wessely The Life Scientific, BBC Radio 4 14 Feb 2017

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Sly Saint, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Jim Al-khalili’s subject in his ‘The Life Scientific’ programme on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday, February 14, was Professor Sir Simon Wessely.

    I thought given the new research into ME and Gulf War Illness this would be of interest.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08dnr3g

    "
    Gulf War Syndrome. So what drew you to that in particular?

    Simon Wessely:

    Well it was that I’d trained in epidemiology. Along come these stories. Clinically they sound terribly similar to my patients but they were very, very different people, and it was also clear that the Ministry of Defence was making a dog’s breakfast of the research, well, they weren’t doing any, and what they really needed was an epidemiological approach. "

    "So we went to the Americans, got the money, and I came back and then started the studies and that was the beginning of it."

    "
    So what you’re saying is that, essentially, there was a high probability that people were frightened, that there was paranoia, and I guess almost like a contagion that, that can spread?

    Simon Wessely:

    Well certainly we know that knowing someone that had Gulf War Syndrome, was a risk factor for developing it"

    "
    Also, the other thing I like, is when we do our research, ... you find something but it’s years before it makes any impact.

    I mentioned Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was years and years before we made any impact on policy."

    full transcript attached:
     

    Attached Files:

  2. ivorin

    ivorin Established Member

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    Disgusting man.
     
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  3. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I listened to that talk. I was horrified. Not only at his summing up of ME and GWI as psychosomatic, but he was egged on by the interviewer to repeat his claims of harassment etc. Very biased interviewing. So much so that I wondered whether SW had written the questions as well as the answers.
     
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  4. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I really hope that this false narrative about this man is thoroughly changed in his lifetime, while he can 'enjoy' it.
     
  5. EzzieD

    EzzieD Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ugh, someone pass the sick bag. :yuck:

    Did anyone else catch the irony, when discussing some traumatic aspects in his childhood:
    Hmm...

    In all, a lot of hot air from someone who clearly loves being the centre of attention. And playing victim.
    :emoji_zzz:

    +1000
     
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  6. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    remind you of anyone else?:emoji_ant::emoji_bug:
     
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  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "And because these patients were being seen there. I have to be honest, and say nobody really liked them."

    Nobody? Well, I guess that you have to be honest, don't you Simon?
     
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  8. Diwi9

    Diwi9 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Hmm...did the PACE trials discuss provider transference? I suppose we should be greatful that he gave us attention? This was a gutless interview. His legacy is doomed, enough said.
     
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  9. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    And still don't, thanks in no small part to your efforts.
     
  10. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes, do tell us Simon. What did you all manage to do?
    No, the jury's still out on that one.
    Well done for finally understanding what so many of your patients were telling you.
    So, you erroneously believed one thing and then disproved your theory. You know, Simon, you actually sound a bit like a scientist there.
    Well, we all get common viral infections, "things like EBV", don't we? [edit: oops, my bad]
    I've got to be honest with you, Simon. Your track record with this illness doesn't seem to be too impressive so far but tell us about your treatments. How did that work out for you? Better for you than the patients, I'll bet, eh? ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  11. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    LOL - There was something on his website that made achieving nothing sound impressive too.
     
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  12. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's the eternal art of the bullsh*tter.
     
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  13. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    Ha, this is as funny as:
    Untitled 3.png
     
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  14. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Wessely is an el primo bullshitter, and a genius at spotting and exploiting the weaknesses in power structures and accountability mechanisms.

    It is extraordinary how far he has got on so little, and how many otherwise intelligent people have been sucked in. :(
     
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  15. Inara

    Inara Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I suppose the story of Gerd Postel is known? He was a postman who faked certificates and became a deputy in psychiatry, giving lots of expert opinions for court and doing talks before other experts of psychiatry. His cover blew because of his certificates, not because of his "lacking" knowledge. There was another actual case, a woman, who did the same and succeeded.

    You obviously need loads of "knowledge" in psychiatry.
     
  16. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Old stuff (ie from March 2017 Standing up for Science 'debate') but I thought important to have over here:



     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
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  17. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Note that he says (I think the correct wording now)

    'And actually in a way what we are going back to here is believing that the outcomes of the trial should be the ESR or swelling of the joint [examples used to counter criticisms by a rheumatologist by the name of J Edwards, as he understands them] but when we did that we had outcomes that bore no relation to clinical reality.'

    The first point is that I never suggested that outcome should be objective, and in fact in rheumatology we use a mixed subjective/objective multiple threshold measure called the ACR grading that includes fatigue and pain. The point I made was that you can only use subjective measures if you have a double blind format.
    Blinding to what is the 'test' treatment is hard but it is far from impossible if you use various forms of sham or dose response technique. With shams nobody need know what is 'test' and what 'control'. With dose response the distinction can be greatly mitigated. The PACE trial did the opposite by shouting out what was the 'best' test treatment and making the comparator 'same old stuff'.

    The second point is that he seems to be saying that they tried the objective outcome and it 'bore no relation to clinical reality'. Yet it must have reflected objective aspects of clinical reality. It may not have reflected the subjective reports, but then those were subject to bias so there is no reason to think they reflected any reality at all. (Note that the researchers would have had no other access to 'clinical reality' so it cannot be that they were actually able to see that the objective measures did not reflect it.) The implication is that they did actually decide to switch outcomes because the results they were getting bore no relation to what they thought the results ought to be.

    Dr Wessely's comments are a classical example of what people say when they do not actually understand trial design, and also Feynman's point that the greatest risk in science is of fooling yourself.

     
  18. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Bang on Sir Simon Wessely - for once you have hit the nail on the head, and in the coffin of your whole scientific approach to ME.

    For purely mental health conditions I can see that objective outcomes measures could be tricky to home in on. And that behavioural interventions will be impossible to blind. So I'm sure there will be many trials run with behavioural interventions for purely mental conditions, that are dodgy to say the least, but because there really are no objective outcomes to measure, no-one can properly tell the difference. And the 'experts' are always there to reassure us it is 'the best that we have'.

    So how does that give psychiatrists the right to impose a deeply flawed trialling methodology onto trialling physiological conditions? Using a trialling method that no-one can prove is flawed (but likely is) when the condition in question really is all in a person's head; then getting flawed results from similarly flawed trials into physiological conditions; and using those results to proclaim the condition is psychological.

    Just because you don't have objective outcomes in your world Sir Simon, does not entitle you to ignore them in the world you have presumed to interfere in, where objective outcomes abound and scientists measure them to best effect, and you are not in the least bit expert, but proclaim and convince you are.

    That statement "in my world of psychiatry / psychology whatever, we don't really have objective outcomes" clearly demonstrates you have no right to meddle where you lack the expertise, and leave it to those who do.

    Edit: Cross posted with @Jonathan Edwards.
     
  19. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There is a worldview difference between us and these people.

    The "illness" is that we're complaining about are considered to be the symptoms themselves (hence the name "CFS"). Whatever the cause of those symptoms is no matter to these people (psychiatrists and their friends) if we stop complaining about them. The idea that our symptom reporting could be incorrectly biased due to a cognitive therapy not only is not only ignored, but is central to what the psychiatrist is interested in - these people believe that when a patient ticks different boxes on a questionnaire after CBT it is because their perceptions/cognitions have been corrected - not that their perceptions/cognitions are now wrong due to systematic biases.

    Let me say that again. It is central to believers of CBT that if there is improvement on questionnaires it is because the cognition that were previously flawed have now been corrected. It does not matter to them if there is no objective change in quality of life or symptoms.

    Strangely in other fields of psychology, they show how easy it is to bias reports and behaviour in certain contexts...
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  20. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    At this point, it's hard to put his positioning down to just a lack of understanding imo. These aren't complicated points, and they've been explained a few times. It's also rather in his self-interest to feign ignorance.
     
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