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Will this new trialled process really aid the ME sufferer?

Sunday 28 March 2010

The Bath ChronicleDr John Greensmith has written a letter to UK newspaper The Bath Chronicle in response to an article about The Lightning Process:

Will this new trialled process really aid the ME sufferer?

Thursday, March 25, 2010, 09:02

Dr Esther Crawley will, no doubt, receive questions about her proposed research using the Lightning Process in children diagnosed with CFS/ME ('Money for Min children's study', Bath Chronicle, March 4) relating to the validity and reliability of her experimental design, her subject selection, the statistical analysis, as well as any additional particular ethical considerations of working with children.

But I have some more fundamental concerns even before these are raised.

The reality is that there is no reason to believe – whether it has any ameliorative effect on any organic illness at all – that the Lightning Process will cure, or aid recovery in, people with ME and there is a possibility that it could even have a negative influence or be harmful.

Despite attempts to give the Lightning Process some scientific respectability by claiming some theoretical chemical or neurological processes and claiming support from academic researchers, there is none that can be relied upon.

There are at least three serious problems underlying any claims for its use with ME sufferers:

(1) only hearing one side of the story;

(2) distorted statistics and;

(3) the relatives of the celebrity endorsers may not have had ME at all.

We only ever hear positive testimonials because any negative ones have been selectively edited out of the Lightning Process website, where only favourable testimonials and press coverage seem to appear.

The extravagant 85 per cent success claim is distorted, primarily because most people with ME would not be able to make it to the place where the Lightning Process is given, or have the stamina to do three days together, so are not even in the reckoning.

It is difficult to check the claims of the celebrity endorsers of the Lightning Process without possibly compromising the patient confidentiality of their relatives, for whom they claim such great success.

The most severely affected people with ME (not the CFS/ME mongrel) will not have even been considered; the Lightning Process will be promoted, in addition to as endorsed by celebrities, as a mainstream treatment worthy of study by reputable academics and yet there will have been no significant return to school, work or resumption of a normal lifestyle.

It is not true to say that if the Lightning Process does no good it will not do any harm.

For people who have had ME for many years and who have tried everything on offer that hasn't worked, this may be yet another disappointment or even the last straw.

I hope that Dr Crawley will prove my predictions wrong.

I beg her to, at the very least, postpone her proposed research until she has addressed these serious underlying issues.

ME Free For
Downend Bristol

The letter originally appeared here. Also on that page are comments from others.



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