Letter: Pool resources for better ME treatment

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The Independent Online
Sir: Suzanne Moore's article ("The secret fears of the ME generation", 23 May) made much needed and serious points on how we view illness and put into perspective the genuine progress that has been made in understanding ME. She points to the deep-rooted prejudice that exists within society against any illness that has to do with the brain, which people still construe quite wrongly to mean that "it is all in the mind".

Nothing could be less true. As we come to understand the complexity of the brain, we understand the biological origin of the multitude of disorders. These are not "in the mind", they are as physical as any other illness. Yet this stigma still persists - despite the best efforts of science and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The psychiatrist Dr Simon Wessely has been vocal in his support for the recognition of ME as a real rather than an imagined illness - a view expressed in the latest edition of the magazine I edit, Understanding Stress, Anxiety and Depression. His work and that of others has produced striking evidence of dysregulation of brain hormones in many sufferers. These discoveries make one hope that ME, like depression and anxiety, will now be better recognised by GPs - treatments will become more effective, and sufferers afforded more compassion.

Those who have fought hard to get ME recognised should now get together and pursue the serious business of medicine and science, putting funds and resources together. Within the ME debate it is high time to bury the hatchet of mind/body dualism for ever.

RICHARD HORNSBY

Editor

Understanding Stress, Anxiety and Depression

London SW1

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