CDC CFS Research Study Questioned

June 29, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
LONDON, 29 June 2007 / International health advocacy pressure group One Click has applied to the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta for key data under the Freedom of Information Act in relation to the new Chronic Fatigue Syndrome study published on 8 June 2007. The epidemiological research study carried out by William Reeves of the CDC et al in Population Health Metrics 2007, 5:5 doi:10.1186/1478-7954-5-5 and entitled 'Prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome in metropolitan, urban, and rural Georgia' has led to academic unease due to the authors’ refusal to reference or sufficiently describe the method they used to compute their results.

Science has a system for reporting research results. If researchers use a previously established methodology, they need to cite previously published reports that describe the method in detail so that interested readers can thoroughly understand how the current study was performed and be able to replicate it if they so desire.

Professor Leonard A. Jason Ph.D., DePaul University writes in his 'Problems with the New CDC CFS Prevalence Estimates' paper: “Accurate measurement and classification of CFS, FMS and IBS is imperative when evaluating the diagnostic validity of controversial disease entities alternatively labelled ‘functional somatic syndromes’. Measurement that fails to capture the unique characteristics of these illnesses might inaccurately conclude that only distress and unwellness characterize these illnesses, thus inappropriately supporting a unitary hypothetical construct called functional somatic syndromes. Most importantly, the erroneous inclusion of people with primary psychiatric conditions in CFS samples will have detrimental consequences for the interpretation of both epidemiologic and treatment efficacy findings.”

“Epidemiological studies have a troubled history,” comments Jane Bryant, One Click Group director. “Used by the tobacco industry to show that smoking didn’t cause lung cancer in the 1940’s, such studies are easily flawed and the numbers manipulated. The authors of this CFS study need to publish the equations and values used so that any reader is able to compute the results. Without this information, the reader can only guess whether the researchers used a legitimate method and that their arithmetic was accurate. Results that cannot be justified cannot be relied on.”

FOIA information requests take twenty working days to process.


The One Click Group

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Information for Editors:

1. Reeves, William/CDC et al. 'Prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome in metropolitan, urban, and rural Georgia', Population Health Metrics 2007, 5:5 doi:10.1186/1478-7954-5-5. Available at:

2. Jason, Leonard. Ph.D., DePaul University. 'Problems with the New CDC CFS Prevalence Estimates', June 2007. Available at: