Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

Look at ME

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 19 March 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:798
  1. T Delamothe

    The supporters of myalgic encephalomyelitis as a discrete entity with an organic cause have brought off some spectacular coups. They have landed a Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Act on to the British statute books, requiring an annual report to be made to parliament on its causes, effects, and treatment. And they succeeded in getting the latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases to include myalgic encephalomyelitis under diseases of the nervous system. Only doctors now remain sceptical about the condition and wary of accepting “encephalomyelitis” as the cause of symptoms without evidence of inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

    Doctors sometimes believe what they read in medical journals. Could journals be partly to blame for their doubts? Action for ME, a patient support group, thinks so. After reviewing the coverage of the illness in the BMJ, Lancet, and three weekly newspapers sent to British general practitioners for the 18 months up to August 1993, it concluded that “medical journals keep doctors in the dark” with their “biased reporting.” The main complaints were that journals confused the chronic fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis, and the post viral fatigue syndrome and that they …

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