Letter: Doubts on ME therapy trial

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The Independent Online
Sir: Having recently referred a patient with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to Dr Michael Sharpe's unit in Oxford for a course of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) I was surprised to find Rob Stepney ("Feeling tired and confused", 26 March) inferring that the ME Association was provoking a hostile reaction to this form of treatment.

We have no problem in accepting that physical, psychological and social factors can all play an important role in the perpetuation of this much- misunderstood condition. Equally, we have no doubt that CBT can be of value where there is co-existent depression, panic attacks or what is termed "abnormal illness behaviour".

Whilst the ME Association is keen to explore all possible approaches to treatment, we will continue to review the often conflicting results of trials such as that at Oxford with a healthy degree of scepticism.

Dr Charles Shepherd

Honorary Medical Adviser

ME Association

Stanford le Hope, Essex