After Congress asked NIH to do a better job of funding research on CFS, NIH created an SEP (Special Emphasis Panel) to judge the quality of applications for CFS research when they first enter the system.
The federal government, and even one national patient advocacy group, suggest the problem is that there are not enough researchers submitting proposals. But 97% of proposals for CFS research are rejected outright. One suspects the problem lies at NIH, not with a lack of proposals for research on The Disease.
Most of the members of the SEP have no expertise (and little interest) in CFS or M.E. The resident "expert" on the committee has been James Jones.
Jones, formerly of Denver, now CDC's director of education on CFS, considers CFS to be a disease caused by somatization (physical symptoms created by psychiatric problems - such as poor Charlie Brown's sore stomach every time he pitched for his baseball team).
Myra McClure of the UK, who published an article in early 2010 on her inability to find the new retrovirus XMRV in either controls or patients, has just been added to the SEP.
With these two as the panel's CFS "experts," I will be surprised if as many as the 3-4% of applications to study CFS will continue to be accepted - the percentage may drop even lower.
For a discussion of Dr. McClure's credentials as an "expert" on CFS and XMRV, go to my latest blog:
I know we have friends at NIH - but apparently we also still have enemies.
Mary M. Schweitzer