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«Written by : Marc Van Impe – belgian journalist
No imaginary illness
Image of CFS is disastrous for patients
“Over the past fifteen years quite a few misunderstandings deliberately have been spread around te world», writes MARC VAN IMPE. He both explains and suggests why this has happened.
Few diseases create as much controversy as CFS. Care providers, legislators and journalists tend to react irritated when this disease is discussed. Lack of knowledge and a deliberately created false image are the cause.
According to Professor Daniel Blockmans, the two doctors who offer their CFS patients a biomedical approach are ‘quacks’. The scientific world agrees that CFS is a psychosomatic disease, according to the Louvain professor.
However, there is scientific literature to contradict this view at every moment.
Prof. Roald Omdal from Norwegian Stavanger University Hospital, publishes this month inReumathology the latest findings on the biological mechanism of chronic fatigue. He employs a clear distinction between depression and chronic fatigue. CFS is different, Omdal writes, because this is a chronic inflammatory disease. The thesis that CFS is a psychosomatic disorder is radically denied by Omdal.
In last weeks edition of The New Scientist Prof. Thomas Borody of the University of New South Wales, links CFS to a chronic disruption of the intestinal flora, a leaky gut and a chronic inflammation in the brains.
In June last year virologist Johan Weyenbergh of Leuven Rega Institute describes in AIDS that the newly discovered XMRV virus may be the key to develop a treatment for CFS. This summer an international symposium will be organized on this subject.
On January 8, 2008 the Israel Medical Association Journal publishes an article written by professors from the Universities of Padua and Tel Aviv, which reveals the pathogenesis of CFS. Disruption of specific cell receptors are involved. They describe treatment by gammaglobulines.
In 2007 Jonathan Kerr described seven systematic genetic abnormalities in CFS patients in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.
So CFS should be an imaginary disease?
Two doctors, Francis Coucke an internist, and Anne Marie Uyttersprot, a neuropsychiatrist who offer their CFS patients a biomedical treatment are severely punished for this. First they were threatened. Subsequently, on the initiative of health insurer CM a complaint was lodged against the two doctors by the Association of Physicians of Antwerp and Flemish Brabant. This complaint is rejected twice. Then the Intermutualistic Committee submits a complaint with the Administrative Court Department of Medical Evaluation and Control. The two doctors are being accused for prescribing gammaglobulines and parenteral nutrition for no reason. In first instance, the two doctors are sentenced to a huge fine of 635,000 euros. This is followed by a new complaint to the Assocation of East Flanders, who suspenses doctor Coucke for two years.
Over the past fifteen years quite a few misunderstandings have been spread around te World deliberately. The source of all these misunderstandings can be accurately located: it is the school of psychiatrist Simon Wessely, of King’s College in London. This man is not only a psychiatrists but also advisor to the world’s largest insurance holding company, editor of the magazine for Evidence Based Medicine, and the English edition of the ICD 10. Wessely decided on its own, to change the classification of CFS from a neuro-immunological disease into a psychiatric disorder. On February 11 2004, the British Minister for Health admitted that deception. On several occasions the WHO had pointed out this anomaly and a had required a correction. As the author of this scientific fraud that doctor Simon Wessely was designated. His «impressive research» and his impressive CV appeared to be «built on sand». The British Government responded by makung the CFS records of the NIH inaccessible for the next 70 years. A most peculiar measure.
Finally, on June 9, 2005 the European Commission declared that concerning CFS priority should be given to research into the indicators of this neurodegeneration, neuro-development and non-psychiatric brain disease.
Yet, in its latest statistics RIZIV classified CFS still among mental disorders.
This attitude of the government inflicts patients heavily:
– private insurers are happy to hide behind the psychological label to avoid having to pay benefits
– hospitals lock CFS patients in the psychiatric department or reject them all together
– and controling doctors of RIZIV expel CFS patients arguing they imagine their disability
– doctors of health insurance companies threaten CFS patients with suspension if they seek advices of the suspended physicians.
– and charlatans who abuse the despair of the patients can still go undisturbed
– in our country, everyone who dares to think ‘out of the box’ is first threatend, then punished severely and finally ridiculized.
The patients organisations ask for the immediate stop of this malpractice .
The results of the CFS centers led by professor van Houdenhove and professor Blockmans, where only psychotherapy and physiotherapy were given, were unsuccessful. Two official reports have confirmed this. Moreover, many other diseases are missed and remain untreated.
On several occasions patients and the two accused doctors have asked the RIZIV, i.e. the nationale Health service, for a discussion. Proposals were made for real research projects. The only answer they got was that patiënts who do not agree always are free to seek justice at the Labour Court. This is utmost cynical if one realizes the financial and lamentable physical condition most CFS patients are finding themselves over time.
Yet on the table of the Director-General of RIZIV is a draft Royal decree that literally states that CFS is maintained by negative cognitions, such as “excessive attention to pain stimuli”, «fear of exercise” and consequently, deconditioning. In this draft biomedical diagnosis and treatment are banned ‘by decree’ by RIZIV.
We do not understand this. Unless it’s all about money. Treatment by a psychologist doesn’t cause any costs for the health insurance fund, because these costs are not repaid. Could that be the reason?»
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