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PACE chronic fatigue trial was properly conducted, says UK research watchdog

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 07 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l639
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

The PACE trial, which compared treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome, met all the regulatory requirements of its day and exceeded transparency requirements, the Health Research Authority has concluded.1

The judgment came in the form of a letter from Jonathan Montgomery, chair of the HRA, to Norman Lamb, chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. A member of the committee, Carol Monaghan, had raised the issue with Montgomery when he gave evidence on research integrity to its inquiry last year.

Although the HRA’s intervention will come as a comfort to the team that led the trial and to the Medical Research Council, which funded it, it is unlikely to put to bed a longstanding campaign by activists to discredit it.

PACE was a trial led by Peter White of Queen Mary University of London that compared four treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome. Its conclusions, published in the Lancet in 2011,2 found that cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy worked better than adaptive …

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