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Who is Simon Wessely?

Discussion in 'PsychoSocial ME/CFS News' started by Dudden, May 4, 2019.

  1. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
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  2. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  3. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I haven't read this myself so far.
     
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  4. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I prefer people who master object permanence. It had not, in fact, "disappeared" and neither did the people suffering from it. Dehumanizing creep.

    That's all there is to it. This is what he boasts about having "uncovered" after decades of work, the sum total of all the work done on the ME-BPS model, used in practice for years now. That it's not linked to viral infections, but also that it is. Also that he made an assumption and it was wrong, which has nothing to do with uncovering anything because he asked an invalid question so that has nothing to do with "uncovering" things anymore than asking whether it's ghosts and failing to show evidence for it is uncovering anything.

    This above is all of it, when asked the question of what hundreds of people working for decades accomplished: they asked invalid questions and... that's it.

    That's just a stupid answer and he knows it. He even "studied" anti-psychiatry in "CFS" and published at least one paper showing it is not a factor, obviously as it's ridiculous narcissistic nonsense.
    Yes, that is very much part of it.
    Complete nonsense. Nobody who lies this much about their own work should be taken seriously.
    He is straight up a pathological liar. This was in 2017, no excuse for this misbehavior.
     
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  5. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Not just a stupid answer but a stupid question! It is such a leading and biased question. Half of the answer is already in the question. Oh for independent, high integrity journalism.
     
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  6. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The thing to remember is that within about six months of starting seeing "CFS" patients, he was suggesting as recommended reading the paper by Edwards which stated "You can cure your effort syndrome if you really want to". Is he just hopelessly naïve? It is hardly surprising that those who had been really wanting to cure their ME for many years felt slightly affronted.
     
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  7. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Nothing I have seen so far has made me deviate from this very famous quip about Watergate:
    Medicine was generally willing to buy anything supporting psychosomatic illness and/or mass hysteria, no matter who was willing to put it in those terms. The substance of their claims is (still today) entirely irrelevant, what mattered is that serious efforts were systematically discouraged so that it could not be invalidated.

    Just as the psychosomatic model of peptic ulcers would never have been invalidated by psychosomatic researchers or people interested in this model, only people rejecting the very premise can do that. Wessely just chose the path of least resistance and found a comfortable local minimum from which medicine is not interested in moving out, but their actual work is of no importance compared to the simple fact that someone dared put nonsense to paper. It's not as if there are consequences to failure anyway.

    Except ME is far more complex than peptic ulcers so scattered efforts can't reach the breakthrough moment and now here we are, decades later. Regardless, far more blame is reserved to those who have been allowing this without any rational basis. It takes two to make an obvious lie official: one to tell the lie and one to accept it.
     
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  8. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  9. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am having to reappraise the SW story. He has always claimed that he was misuderstood, but for some reason, best known to himself, has never provided the evidence.

    There was always something not right about the story that SW emerged from nowhere to singlehandedly alter the course of the history of ME. There may be a clue in the fact that, in the David, Wessely and Pelosi paper, SW is allocated the middle position. On looking up the research histories of David and Pelosi it seems that they had already co-authored papers. One from 1985 on bulimia was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Another "Pie on the sly" was published in the BMJ in 1986. David had published separately in 1985 on "Hysterical paralysis following status epilepticus".

    Strangely, David, and possibly both, were working at the Southern General in Glasgow, the home of Behan and of the work on ME or PVFS carried out by him and his team. It is interesting that Pelosi says this in his role as Reviewer 2

    I am sorry to hear of these authors’ ill health. I hope they will not be upset when I say that I do not accept their diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. I do not accept at face value anybody’s declared diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome until I have done my own history and examination. The reasons for this are as follows. When I was a junior registrar in neurology in 1981/1982 our team investigated referrals – including self referrals – of patients with severe fatigue. They received a battery of investigations from brain scans through lumbar puncture through visual evoked responses to muscle biopsy. Every test would be normal. We never took a social history and never carried out a mental state examination. Come to think of it we never even took a proper past medical history. The patients would then be told that they had a condition called myalgic encephalomyelitis and would be sent home to rest with the prognosis that they would not improve but that there may be a cure in the future with advances in neurovirology. As I have written before (Pelosi, British Journal of General Practice, January 2000) and I have thought to myself on many occasions since - may God forgive me for the part I played in destroying the lives of some of these vulnerable patients.

    https://www.s4me.info/threads/micha...ohnthejack-on-twitter.3464/page-88#post-84643

    He had already been involved with ME for six years and was clearly the senior partner in this enterprise. Moreover it seems that the condition which interested him was "severe and prolonged fatigue". It is easy to see how SW could have been led astray. But he was a well educated adult.

    Time for a bit of Handel - All we like sheep...
     
  10. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In the early days with the "New Wine in Old Bottles" it was either published or summarised in the ME Association magazine "Perspectives". He was part of the ME world, though a new voice and his work was shocking and maddening.

    So he was not naive. He knew all about the biomedical aspects of ME and the epidemics, he knew who the experts were and he had access to patients if he wanted to know if we were deconditioned or not.

    It was a carefully planned ideological takeover, in concert with Andrew Lloyd and Ian Hickie in Australia. Everything that had been implicit in the ME world, the way people with MS know what MS is and it's history without really thinking about it. Suddenly there was a complete takeover and we had CFS not ME even though we did not have the symptoms.

    I always imagine the Russian Revolution must have felt like that.
     
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  11. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That was later, in 1990.
     
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  12. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The thread has moved on but i just wanted to post this link to Ean Proctor's story (the boy put into the swimming pool) in his & his parents own words

    Doesnt mention Wessley i dont think but it's clear that the pool incident was a traumatic one (unsurprisingly).

    As i understood it (sorry i have no links this is just my memory, SW was blamed because he had liased in writing with the psych hospital's doctors and told them that ME cannot cause paralysis.

     
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  13. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You know those annoying revisionist historians? You have been warned...

    Let us assume , for the sake of argument, that SW was not some genius who created, along with other members of the triumvirate, a wholly new approach to PVFS - whatever the title of their paper may have suggested. At least there was nothing new about the subject matter of the approach, only its application to PVFS. Let us assume that his training and career followed an entirely conventional path and that he followed directions from more senior academics or clinicians, who for some reason are never associated with his work.

    It is said of one professor of epidemiology:

    After this clinical study Michael became less concerned with the minutiae of clinical or experimental research and left the spadework to his team of extremely able research workers. For him the main concerns became the broader conceptual issues in psychiatry, or rather in psychological medicine as he preferred to call our discipline. He wrote extensively on the thorny problems of psychiatric classifications, psychopathology and the causation of mental illness

    He had also an interest in "illness behaviour" and published articles on the subject in the journal which he founded and edited.

    xxx was the founding editor of Psychological Medicine from 1969 until 1993. He attached great importance to the title which he resurrected from the Journal of Psychological Medicine, first conceived by Forbes Winslow (1810-74). Michael defined psychological medi cine as including not only psychiatry but also the study of abnormal behaviour from the medical point of view.

    That journal in 1986 published the paper presented by Mechanic at the 1984 Adelaide Conference on illness behaviour
    S0033291700002476 (cambridge.org)

    And in 1988 published Eisenberg's much quoted paper The social construction of mental illness (cambridge.org) based on his Oxford Upjohn lecture of May 1987

    The above quotes are taken from the obituary of Michael Shepherd, Professor of Epidemiology at the Maudsley who died in 1995
    michael-shepherd.pdf (cambridge.org)

    Shepherd was the first named acknowledgement in SW's 1987 paper on Mass Hysteria.

    It must be assumed that illness behaviour featured prominently in training received at the Maudsley.

    In this context it may be possible to misunderstand some of SW's early work. It is possible to gain the impression that the concepts he used are created ad hoc. In fact a careful reading of the McHugh and Vallis book on Illness Behaviour published in 1986, representing the bulk of the papers delivered at the Toronto conference in 1985, would provide the groundwork. According to Pilowsky many of the papers from the first conference in Adelaide in 1984 were published in "Psychiatric Medicine", which I take to mean "Psychological Medicine" .
    sci-hub.se/10.1080/00048679409080780 (sci-hub.se)
    Given such iterest one would reasonably expect Shepherd's students to be aware of these developments.

    Clearly there is some tweaking still to be done, but it is only a development of ideas which must have been commonly understood in the US. It is in the UK that these ideas seemed entirely new. Read this way the Cognitive Behavioral model for CFS can be seen as being suggested by Barry Blackman and Mary Gutman of the University of Wisconsin, haunt of Mechanic, before he went to Rutgers.

    The reason I failed to spot this earlier was that there was no obvious connection between the work of Mechanic, Eisenberg and Pilowsky and all seemed to be operating in their own fields. Once the link is found all appears different.

    Perhaps some leeway should be given to the faulty scientific methodology of the psychiatrists in this field. By the standards of the sociologists, anthropologists, psychotherapists and strategic health planners operating in this area, there can be no criticism.

    No expression of such thoughts would be complete without the comment "further research is needed".
     
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  14. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Apologies if already covered.
    upload_2020-12-11_13-17-21.png

    http://www.margaretwilliams.me/2005...raight-about-ean-proctor-from-isle-of-man.pdf

     
  15. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well that's okay then.
     
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  16. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    thanks for that @Barry I didnt write that quite accurately then as there is ambiguity. But IIRC when i was reading about it all (circa 2006) it was being seen (among those writing about it, i'm sorry i dont remember the details of whom etc), it was interpreted that SW had decided EP could not have ME (as per the letter quoted by Williams), because (in his view) ME doesnt cause paralysis - therefore the psychs put him into the pool to prove that he had no organic cause for it... that was the way it was being interpreted by the wider group at the time. Again IIRC.

    Whatever happened it was clearly dreadful for Ean, but i do wish that people would stop saying that 'SW threw a boy into a swimming pool', because i think that has just kind of dramatically morphed from the original facts - which seem to be that he was, nevertheless, involved in the case if only by correspondence. It's unhelpful.
     
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  17. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is interesting to see him say on 5th August 1988

    It may assist the Court to point out that I am the co-author of several scientific papers concerning the topic of “ME".

    We know about the one with David and Pelosi, but that hardly classifies as a scientific paper. It is an opinion piece. What else is there? I suppose some papers may have been written and awaiting publication, such as the one with David, Butler and Chalder published in early 1989.
     
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  18. AR68

    AR68 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just a general point Chris, I'm glad that you seem to be interested in seeking out stuff like this.
     
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  19. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks. It has been an interest since 1989 or 90 whenever it was that reports first appeared in the MEA magazine. It always seemed clear that there was something fundamentally wrong.
     
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