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Trial By Error: UK Docs Speak Up On Long-Covid; Mayo Shifts Gears (A Little)

Thursday 24 September 2020

From Virology Blog:


Trial By Error: UK Docs Speak Up on Long-Covid; Mayo Shifts Gears (a Little)

By David Tuller, DrPH
15 September 2020
Content licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Doctors in UK urge caution on long-Covid exercise advice

Despite BMJ’s current dereliction of key editorial oversight responsibilities, it has provided a forum for members of the medical community with Covid-19 and post-Covid symptoms to express their strong views.

The reference to current dereliction of key editorial responsibilities involves a case I and others have raised repeatedly with BMJ in recent months. The concerns relate to a study of cognitive behavior therapy and music therapy for chronic fatigue in adolescents after acute EBV, which was published in April by BMJ Paediatrics Open. More than three months ago, four colleagues and I alerted the journal itself, along with BMJ’s editorial leadership, that one of two peer reviewers flatly stated in his review that he had not read “beyond the abstract”—in other words, he did not actually read the study.

Even before we sent our letter, a sharp ME/CFS patient had previously highlighted multiple methodological problems with the paper in a cogent and persuasive rapid response. Among other issues, the study was described in the protocol as a fully powered trial but it was published—falsely—as if it were designed as a feasibility study seeking data for a fully powered trial. Given this indisputable evidence of questionable reporting of results and a broken peer review process, it is unclear why the journal and BMJ’s editorial leadership have so far refused to take action on this problematic paper—especially at a time when people around the world are desperately seeking reliable information about post-viral fatigue.

Full article...

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