Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category


Many GP’s and other healthcare professionals don’t know much about ME. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis [WHO ICD-10:G93.3])

They think it is the same as tiredness and that impression is further reinforced by the recent NICE guidelines that proclaim that tiredness and a sore throat or headache equals ME. Nothing is further from the truth. Here is a quick guideline for BUSY GP’s about ME.

“Many GPs believe ME doesn’t exist or is a form of hysteria. But this is very wrong, just as we were with MS, when we called it hysteria, and with many other medical conditions. So here are some usefull tips when dealing with patients who might have ME.

Tip ONE: if a patient comes to the surgery, have a look at the size of his docs, if he has never been, or only rarely, with real problems, than he is not a malingerer or a hypochondriac.

Tip TWO: there are a lot of differences between hysteria and ME but two easy ones are: Belle indifference and shallowness of affect.

Tip THREE: hysteria has been binned from the DSM when they realised they made a big mistake naming MS hysteria. If you encounter a psychiatrist who still uses the term hysteria you have to be careful because in that version of the DSM homosexuality is still a psychiatric illness.

Tip FOUR: ask how long someone with fatigue needs to recover from even a simple task. Patients with ME don’t recover from simple tasks like healthy people, something you don’t see with (most) other forms of fatigue.

Tip FIVE: discuss CBT, if it cures the patient your diagnosis of ME was wrong.

Tip SIX: ME patients have the so called threshold phenomenon, meaning that they can’t increase their stamina like healthy people. If they can or if GET helps to improve their stamina then again, the diagnosis of ME was wrong.

Tip SEVEN: ask about muscle pain. If they have it, it is so extreme and completely different from a bit of pain after a strenuous run that NSAIDs look like smarties and have the same effect.

Tip EIGHT: have a look at page SIX of the South Australian guidelines where you can find an easy to use tick chart of symptoms to distinguish ME from other illnesses with fatigue. This will help a lot because there is no cure at present for ME but for many other illnesses with fatigue there is. And the patient will be cured and grateful. Print it to have it ready when needed; or >>>>> CLICK HERE FOR PROPER AND UP TO DATE GUIDELINES……….

Tip NINE: take a proper history, examine the patient and do lab tests. This might sound obvious but very often this doesn’t happen and the sooner you diagnose the problem, like with any other (serious) medical problem, the easier it is to cure or deal with. Might also give you a happier patient and one who is less likely to sue you.

Tip TEN: diagnose ME (if so), explain that the body will cure itself in many patients but that it is difficult to say how long that will take, and you have answered all important questions, and your patient will not only be grateful for that, but you won’t have a difficult patient, because he knows what is what. So help him and yourself by using this simple guide.

Last TIP: remember, even if you don’t believe ME exists, you might still get it yourself.

There are studies suggesting that teachers and healthcare workers/doctors are more at risk.



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Plans to introduce a law in Germany that would force doctors to notify a patient’s health insurance company if medical treatment is for a complication of a beauty operation or piercing have been heavily criticised by doctors and welfare organisations. BMJ 2 November 2007.

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EU postponed threathened restriction of using MRI scanners

Rory Watson, BMJ 2007;335:844-845

Medical specialists, patients’ groups, and European parliamentarians launched a campaign last week to ensure that new EU health and safety legislation will not restrict the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The Alliance for MRI fears that new Europe-wide measures, which are
designed to protect employees , from short term exposure to electromagnetic fields, will inadvertently make it harder to use equipment to diagnose and treat illnesses from cancer and heart attacks to strokes and brain tumours.

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BY: Zosia Kmietowicz BMJ 2007;335:633 (29 September).

Department of Health advice for pregnant women with a family history of atopic diseases to avoid eating peanuts and food that contains peanuts and not to give such food to their children until the age of 3 years is out of date and should be immediately withdrawn, says a report from the House of Lords.

Avoiding food that contains peanuts in early life could in fact be helping to fuel the rise in peanut allergy seen in the UK, says the report.

A number of recent epidemiological studies had indicated that early peanut consumption in countries such as Israel was associated with a low incidence of peanut allergy in the population.


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Academic boycott of Israel: follow-up to the BMJ‘s debate

BMJ  2007;335:234-235 (4 August).

Why just Israel? As a Palestinian I know at first hand the damage done by calling to boycott Israel, academically or economically. Not only does it validate everything the Palestinians are saying, including support for suicide bombing, it is hurting any chance of peace and is taking away any chance for help from Israel. Maybe if the world wants to help they should have the courage to boycott the Arab countries until they give the Palestinians living there citizenship status and maybe some rights.

BY: Saleem Abdallah, political analyst, West Bank, Palestine

Boycott proposers often state that boycotting South Africa worked, so why not Israel? The glaring difference is that whereas supporters of the apartheid regime supported the ideology, Israelis as a whole have voted in at least the last three elections against the occupation and in favour of a two state solution. I also feel there is no substitute for meeting the “enemy” directly—for example, at academic meetings, as happens regularly in Israel and elsewhere, and breaking down stereotyping, something which Tom Hickey seems determined to restrict.

BY: Andrew Fink, consultant ophthalmologist, Ra’anana, Israel  

The motion’s scope needs to be widened: what about Palestinian academia, which has consistently failed to condemn state sponsored acts of terror and violence against unarmed citizens both inIsrael and Palestinian territories? If you really care about the fate of these two states, you should apply the same measureto both sides. 

BY: Ehud Emanuel, citizen, Israel

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