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Reanalysis Of The PACE Trial Finds Impressive Claims For Recovery Following CBT And GET Are 'Not Statistically Reliable'
Sunday 25 March 2018
Reanalysis of the PACE trial finds impressive claims for recovery following CBT and GET are ‘not statistically reliable’ | 22 March 2018
A large-scale, government-funded trial, known as PACE, claimed psychotherapy and exercise helped the estimated 250,000 sufferers of the devastating illness, M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis).
Manifesting as unrelenting fatigue and profound pain, the condition, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, has no known cure and is made worse by exertion.
Sufferers are often confined to their beds, unable to walk, and need help even to shower – an action that could then lay them low for hours, days, weeks or longer.
When the results of the five-year PACE trial were published in 2011, researchers claimed that graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) were “moderately effective” forms of treatment.
The trial concluded that both treatments led to recovery in over a fifth of patients.
But PACE has since faced intense criticism from patients and charities, such as the ME Association, over how the results were obtained, analysed and presented.
Parliament has previously heard claims that the data was deliberately flawed to “remove people from long-term benefits and reduce the welfare bill”.
After a long legal battle, unpublished data from the trial was released and has now been independently reanalysed. The paper, published in the journal BMC Psychology, has found that the benefits reported for psychotherapy and exercise therapy are modest and not statistically reliable.
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