Continuing Correspondence Between Countess of Mar and Professor Peter White and Professor Sir Simon Wessely


Professor Peter White has responded to the Countess of Mar’s letter published in the “Independent on Sunday” of 13th January 2013 :



From: "Peter White"
To: "MAR, Countess"
Subject: RE: Letter to the Independent on Sunday

Dear Lady Mar,
As a matter of courtesy and for your information, I attach the link to an IoS wesbite posting from Sir Simon and myself, which was uploaded on Saturday.
Also for your information, I attach two of my most relevant papers that speak to the important role of infection as an immediate cause of CFS.
Yours sincerely,
Professor White

“John Maddox Prize: We would like to correct several errors of fact in the letter published on this website by the Countess of Mar and others. These authors state that we "..have promoted an hypothesis that ME/CFS is due to an abnormal illness beliefs,.. " We have not; beliefs about an illness determine the ways people cope with it, but this has little to do with how the illness develops in the first place (its immediate cause), which our own research has shown can follow certain infections.

The correspondents also mention the PACE trial and state that "No data on recovery rates and positive outcomes have been released.." The results of positive (and negative) outcomes were published in the Lancet medical journal early in 2011. The results of recovery rates are due to be published in the medical journal Psychological Medicine within the next three weeks.

The authors state that "There has been no attempt by Professor White to correct the misapprehension in respected journals as well as the popular press that the PACE trial demonstrated recovery rates of between 30% and 40%." Again this is not the case; Prof White and colleagues published the following in the Lancet in May 2011: "It is important to clarify that our paper did not report on recovery; we will address this in a future publication."

The PACE trial has added to the now overwhelming scientific literature showing that two rehabilitative approaches of cognitive behaviour therapy and graded exercise therapy are moderately effective treatments of what is otherwise a chronic, debilitating and untreatable illness that blights patient's lives. This is good news that needs sharing. Professor Peter White Professor Sir Simon Wessely Queen Mary University London and King's College London”

Professor PD White
Professor of Psychological Medicine,
Centre for Psychiatry, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine,
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry,
Queen Mary University of London.
Address: Psychological Medicine, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, EC1A 7BE, UK.

Tel: (+44)(0)203 465 5696
Fax: (+44)(0)203 465 7082