• Per Fink Should Not Spread Lies about ME at Columbia University!
    Per Fink's approach has been responsible for children being removed from their homes because he believes ME is psychosomatic. Per Fink’s clinic claims to treat ME but no patient has ever received an ME diagnosis there. So far, 55 patient complaints about his practices at the clinic have been sent to the Board of Patient Safety in Denmark. Per Fink WRONGLY claims: - ME is a form of BDS because the symptoms of ME fit into his overly-broad BDS concept. - He can cure ME patients with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) – he uses the flawed PACE trial as evidence. - His website claims that no patients have been harmed by his treatments. - ME is caused by incorrect illness beliefs, deconditioning and stress. There is no scientific evidence for any of this. And yet, in less than a month, on October 20, Per Fink will be speaking at Columbia University. The Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health received part of a $9.6 million dollar multi-center grant over five years to study the biology of ME. How can a university that accepts grants to study ME also host a speaker that propagates the idea that ME is psychosomatic? Please sign this petition to demand that the conference director, Dr. Alla Landa, uninvite Per Fink from the Psychosomatic Conference at Columbia University. UPDATE (10/08/18): We've updated the language in the above paragraph about the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) to clarify that CII is not hosting the event nor do they support it. They study the biomedical reality of ME. This petition is calling on the University to disinvite Per Fink, not CII. Also CII only received part of the $9.6M multi-center grant (since they are one of several centers funded by this grant).
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  • Remove "Afflicted" Docuseries from Netflix Now
    Netflix executives need to hear from as many people as possible that the the problems with this film are real and serious. The participants are already suffering for their participation, receiving intense online harassment, having their professional reputations questioned, and having friends turn against them. And if “Afflicted” remains on Netflix, it will hurt many more people. Many people living with chronic illnesses, including those depicted in “Afflicted”, are routinely denied disability benefits. Some are abandoned by their families and fall into poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity when they become too ill to work. The stigma surrounding these conditions among health care providers poses a barrier to accessing quality medical care, putting patients at risk. The disbelief of loved ones—and the culture at large—contributes to the high rates of suicide among patients with these conditions. Add your voice to the original group of writers, activists, artists, filmmakers, physicians, scientists, and several "Afflicted" participants who have signed an open letter to Netflix executives. Read the here letter here: https://medium.com/@afflicted/open-letter-to-netflix-regarding-the-afflicted-docuseries-d2b5263c9eb6 ORIGINAL SIGNERS TO OPEN LETTER: Sini Anderson Documentary Filmmaker "The Punk Singer" and "So Sick" Jennifer Brea Filmmaker, "Unrest" Mario R. Capecchi Distinguished Professor University of Utah School of Medicine Department of Human Genetics Lawrence Carter-Long Director of Communications Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund Bela Chheda, MD Center for Complex Diseases Laurel Crosby, PhD Director of Innovation CFS Research Center Stanford Genome Technology Center Janet L Dafoe, PhD Child Psychologist in Private Practice Palo Alto, California, USA Ronald W. Davis, PhD Professor of Biochemistry and Genetics Stanford University Lena Dunham Writer, Actor, Director, Producer Maya Dusenbery Author, "Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick" Eva Hagberg Fisher PhD Candidate, UC Berkeley Author, "How To Be Loved: A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship" Maureen Hanson, Ph.D. Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics Cornell University H. Craig Heller, PhD Lorry Lokey/Business Wire Professor of Biology and Human Biology Stanford University Judith Heumann Disability Rights Advocate Ford Fellow, Ford Foundation Ally Hilfiger Designer, producer, author "BITE ME" Deborah Hoffmann Documentary Filmmaker David L. Kaufman, MD Center for Complex Diseases Porochista Khakpour Author, "Sick: A Memoir," "The Last Illusion," and "Sons and Other Flammable Objects" Nancy Klimas MD Director, Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine Nova Southeastern University Director, Miami VA Medical Center GWI and CFS/ME Program Miami, Florida, USA Jim LeBrecht Documentary Filmmaker Board Member at Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund Michele Lent Hirsch Author, "Invisible: How Young Women with Serious Health Issues Navigate Work, Relationships, and the Pressure to Seem Just Fine" Monica Lewinsky Anti-bullying activist and writer Mohsen Nemat-Gorgani, Ph.D. Research Scientist, Stanford University Jenara Nerenberg UC Berkeley journalist Founder, The Neurodiversity Project Abby Norman Author, "Ask Me About My Uterus" Meghan O'Rourke Author, "What's Wrong with Me?" and "The Long Goodbye" Robert D Phair PhD Chief Science Officer Integrative Bioinformatics Inc Mountain View, CA Anand Ramasubramanian, Ph. D. Associate Professor Chemical & Materials Engineering San José State University Julie Rehmeyer Author, "Though the Shadowlands: A Science Writer’s Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn’t Understand" Contributing Editor, "Discover" Frances Reid Documentary Filmmaker Amit Kumar Saha, PhD Research Engineer Stanford University Peidong Shen, PhD, Scientist Stanford Genome Technology Center Lars M. Steinmetz, PhD Professor of Genetics Stanford University School of Medicine Ronald G Tompkins, MD, ScD Summer M Redstone Professor of Surgery Harvard Medical School Director, Center for Surgery, Innovation & Bioengineering, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. David Tuller, DrPH Senior Fellow in Public Health and Journalism Center for Global Public Health UC Berkeley Michael VanElzakker, PhD Research Fellow, Psychiatric Neuroscience Division Harvard Medical School & Massachusetts General Hospital Instructor, Tufts University Psychology Alice Wong Founder and Director Disability Visibility Project Wenzhong Xiao, Ph.D. Immune-Metabolism Computational Center Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Maysoon Zayid Comedian, Writer, Disability Advocate "AFFLICTED" PARTICIPANTS: Jesse Bercowetz Artist and Masters candidate Harvard Divinity School Nick Dinnerstein Musician, Music teacher Brother of Bekah Dinnerstein New York, NY Jill Edelstein LCSW Psychotherapist/Clinical Social Worker in Private Practice New York, NY, USA Janine Feczko Documentary Film and Television Editor Jamison Hill Author, Freelance Writer Bylines: "The New Tork Times" "The Los Angeles Times" "The Washington Post" Pilar Olave Actress/Musician/VoiceOver Artist Los Angeles, CA Star Rinaldi Jake Sidwell Composer, "Final Space" Nashville, TN
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  • The #MillionsMissing Global Petition for ME Equality
    Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a systemic neuroimmune condition that causes dysregulation of both the immune system and the nervous system. The effects of ME are devastating enough to leave 25% of patients housebound or bedbound. An estimated 15-30 million people around the world are suffering from ME. Approximately 75-85% of them are women and 80-90% of them are undiagnosed. The human cost of the current medical and policy neglect is tremendous. At the “mild” end of the spectrum, patients who still work may lose 50 percent of their previous function. Others are forced to abandon careers they loved - and the ability to support themselves and their families. Twenty-five percent of patients are shuttered in their homes or trapped in bed. At the most severe end of the spectrum, patients may live the rest of their lives in darkened rooms, unable to tolerate light, sound, or human touch. Only 4-8 percent fully recover. ME medical costs and lost productivity result in an estimated US $20 billion each year. In the US and the UK, there have been numerous cases of children being taken away from their parents and placed in foster care. In Europe, some severely ill patients have been forcibly institutionalized. Despite this incredible social cost, research is severely underfunded by governments across the globe. That is why we call on every government in the world to formally recognize ME and sufficiently fund research at the levels needed to treat and, ultimately, find a cure. ---------- ME Research Funding Statistics Around the Globe: 1) In the US, ME research funding is between $3-8 per patient per year. A similarly disabling disease such as multiple sclerosis receives about $242 per patient per year. 2) In the UK, MS has received 20 times the funding as ME. 3) In Canada, where 1.9% of the Canadian population have been diagnosed with ME, funding for ME patients averages around 11 cents per patient. 4) In Australia, approximately AUD 110,000 is allocated to ME/CFS each year.
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  • STOP GRADED EXERCISE THERAPY TRIALS FOR ME/CFS
    Hundreds of patients have reported harm — some becoming housebound or bedbound, indefinitely — from graded exercise therapy (GET). Objective criticism from scientists and journalists have argued that there is no correlation between participation in GET and recovery. Yet public resources continue to fund trials such as MAGENTA, a UK trial of graded exercise therapy in children ages 8-17. After the feasibility study on 100 children is completed, MAGENTA will likely expand to a larger trial, with more young patients recruited. MAGENTA’s public documents, including the participant-information sheets given to prospective patients and their parents/carers in the feasibility trial do not convey the magnitude of the harm reported by patients. A document addressed to parents reads “We have used both treatments [GET and activity management] in our service and we are not aware of side effects. Studies in adults have also not shown that there are any side effects.” Therefore, the children in MAGENTA and those responsible for their well-being may not have given adequately informed consent. The rationale for performing additional GET studies in ME/CFS such as MAGENTA rest on the shoulders of the fundamentally-flawed PACE trial. PACE’s flaws are so well-known and so profound that over 40 scientists and doctors, including pediatricians, have signed an open letter stating that PACE’s “major flaws... have raised serious concerns about the validity, reliability and integrity of the findings”. Thousands have demanded retraction of PACE’s “misleading” analyses and 24 ME/CFS charities in 14 countries have demanded that its data be released for reanalysis: PACE is no basis for a trial in children or adults. Please sign now, and share this petition widely. Join with us to protect our community from research that ignores the biological realities of ME/CFS and promotes a potentially harmful therapy. You can find more information at: www.stopGET.org Are you a UK citizen or resident? If so, sign this UK parliament petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/166601. We aim for it to reach 10,000 signatures — fast — which guarantees a government response.
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  • Misleading PACE claims should be retracted
    The UK’s £5 million PACE trial has been hugely influential in bolstering the view that CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) patients can recover if they gradually increase their activity, despite widespread reports of harm [5]. This view informs how patients around the world are treated in the media, in medical practice and by society. It is crucial that misleading claims of recovery do not stand.

 "All the issues with the trial are extremely worrying, making interpretation of the clinical significance of the findings more or less impossible.” – Emeritus Professor Jonathan Edwards of University College London 

Claims have been made in The Lancet and Psychological Medicine that a substantial proportion of CFS patients in the PACE trial recovered after a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or graded exercise therapy (GET). However, the claims are based on criteria that were revised after the study was already underway. These new criteria included “normal ranges” for fatigue and physical function that are so broad that patients could at the end of the trial have physical function similar to someone with congestive heart failure — and yet be classed as “recovered”. 

Being as disabled as patients with congestive heart failure [6] simply isn’t good enough to count as recovery of physical function for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. READ MORE: http://www.meaction.net/background-to-the-petition/ [1] http://bit.ly/1Rexu6L [2] http://bit.ly/1PUEyHm [3] http://1.usa.gov/1iioqBz   [4] http://bit.ly/1PRcpBK [5] http://bit.ly/1Mtu8yM [6] http://1.usa.gov/1iioXDC Editor's note: We use here the term "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" (CFS) in line with the PACE trial authors' terminology and use of the Oxford Criteria.
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