May 30, 2013
me+ME: Whittemore, DSM-5 and my mB12-protocol
1. Harvey Whittemore to jail?
2. The Economist (twice) on the DSM-5
3. On the mB12-protocol
About ME/CFS


I believe I am still somewhat paying back my walk of 5 weeks ago, but I also seem to be getting out of it.

In proof of which there is today a fairly long Nederlog, with three different subjects.

Harvey Whittemore to jail?

Who remembers Harvey Whittemore? I do, for one, and I think quite a few of my readers know some about him. For those who do not:

Harvey is the husband of Annette Whittemore, who is the leader of
the WPI, that was rather well known in 2010 and 2011, namely for providing the place and the money to Judy Mikovits, Ph.D., who believed she had found the cause of M.E., and indeed quite a few other diseases, in the shape of XMRV.

That story is fairly well treated on my site in 2009, 2010 and 2011, but after 2 years, on October 8, 2011, I definitely gave up on it, as outlined here:
And indeed: It turned out to have been - probably, mostly - contamination. It took another year to settle that, but by September 2012 I think most people were convinced. See these two essays by me from the second half of that September:
But that was just some background. Now to the real subject:

Harvey Whittemore was a big political player in Nevada, that is at least 3 times as large as the Netherlands, but has only 2.7 million inhabitants - among whom is Harry Reid, who currently is the Senate Majority Leader, which is to say that he functions as the political leader of the Democratic Senators.

Now here is the news that elevated Harvey Whittemore to being in today's Nederlog:
In fact, and the above is a Huffington Post article dated yesterday, from which I now quote:

Harvey Whittemore, 59, could face up to 15 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after a federal jury returned guilty verdicts on three counts tied to nearly $150,000 illegally funneled to Reid's re-election campaign in 2007.


Each count carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The judge set sentencing for Sept. 23.


Prosecutors said in closing arguments Tuesday that Whittemore had been the "king of the hill" in Nevada political circles, an insider who had worked his way onto the short list of many U.S. senators and representatives as someone to call when they needed to quickly find donors.


Reid had no comment on the verdicts, said Kristen Orthman, a spokeswoman for the senator.

Reid was not accused of any wrongdoing. He has said he was unaware of any potential problems with the money he received.

"I received $25 million. He raised $150,000," Reid told the Las Vegas Sun earlier this week. "I had money coming in from other places."

Myhre [prosecuting attorney - MM]  told jurors Whittemore was driven solely by greed – "not to get more money but greed in the sense of more power."

I say. What do I think of it? It seems Mr. Whittemore is in considerable trouble, and has some major enemies. The odd thing are the height of the punishments and the sort of crime, also as now - six years after 2007 - it seems the sky has become the limit as regards to money and politics.

But I make no bets on the outcome, and merely register that one of the - at least three - Dutch ME/CVS organizations does have contacts with the WPI - and no: I am not a member of any of these organizations: I merely register things.

2. The Economist on the DSM-5

The Economist is a rather well-known and long established periodical on economy. The reason it came to my attention is that it published recently two interesting reviews of the DSM-5 - albeit "recently" is May 18, nearly two week ago.

You'll find the originals linked in their titles, that I deal with in some detail, because they are unexpectedly good. And you'll find the originals linked in their titles:
  • DSM-5 By the book
    The American Psychiatric Association's latest diagnostic manual remains a flawed attempt to categorise mental illness
This starts as follows
A BOOK with the title “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition” does not sound destined to be a bestseller, particularly at $199 a pop. But DSM-5, as it is known for short, is almost certain to become one. Its predecessor, DSM-IV, which was published in 1994, has sold more than 1m copies. DSM-5, which will go on sale on May 22nd, is likely to do at least as well.

The reason is that the DSM series, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), has become the global standard for the description of mental illness. Indeed, the DSM is treated by many people less as a medical handbook and more as holy writ. Insurers use it to decide whether or not to cover ailments. And diagnoses based on it determine whether people get special services at school; whether they qualify for disability benefits; whether they are stigmatised in their careers; even whether they are able to adopt children.
But not only that: What's more is that (1) psychiatric diagnoses have a legal validity, and (2) much of psychiatric diagnosing amounts to - often: more or less forced - prescriptions of psychotropic drugs, while (3) these prescriptions are not based on really valid research.

The Economist sees it as follows:

The third DSM, published in 1980, introduced a new approach—also followed in the fourth in 1994. DSM-III acknowledged that psychiatrists had a poor understanding of the physiological cause of mental illness. Instead specific, observed symptoms became the diagnostic criteria, and clusters of them, known medically as syndromes, that appeared to coexist in individual patients were given labels. The hope was that biological markers of such syndromes would be discovered as physiological understanding increased.

This was a reasonable approach in principle. In practice, though, the lines dividing different disorders are blurry. The symptoms used to define them often do not cluster neatly in the way that those of true syndromes would, and the statistical evidence for their existence is sometimes sparse. Nor, in most cases, have the hoped-for biological markers turned up—and to the extent that they have, they have muddied the waters, rather than clarifying them.

This is putting it mildly, and also does not consider the major extensions that psychiatry has indulged in:

There still is no biological, no genetic and indeed no real basis for most - nearly all - of the pronouncements of the DSM. And each time a new DSM arrives, more and more people and more and more of their behaviors are described and categorized as insane. See my Brit. Jn. Psychiatry: 78% of the British are not sane.

The Economist puts it as follows:

Such results suggest that the DSM’s approach of placing patients in diagnostic silos is questionable. As Dan Blazer of Duke University, who served on DSM-5’s task-force, puts it, “We’re basically drawing artificial lines, and the body and the mind do not work like that.”


And the unfortunate truth is that it is still far too early to use biological markers as criteria for diagnosis.
Which is to say: It's mostly baloney, that is: mostly nonsense - and indeed it is.

Now this article is of May 18, when the news that thje NIMH's Dr Insel had given up - sort of - his opposition to the DSM-5, or at least, officially speaking, had taken it down a peg, had not yet reached The Economist
The NIMH seeks to use genetics, imaging and cognitive science to create new diagnostic criteria. Thomas Insel, the NIMH’s director, has specifically implored researchers not to be confined by DSM-5’s strict rules. Abiding by DSM categories may prevent scientists from understanding the underlying causes of sickness.

Still, objective laboratory measures for mental illness are a long way off. The APA says DSM-5 will be continuously updated to respond to new discoveries. For now, however, patients’ treatment will be guided by the imperfect manual.

That is: You seriously risk being seriously damaged by turning to psychiatry.

In fact, also on May 18, The Economst published another article on the same subject:

I'll skip some introductory text and turn immediately to this:

No other major branch of medicine has such a single text, with so much power over people’s lives. And that is worrying. Because in no other branch of medicine is the scientific reality underpinning the pronouncements of doctors so uncertain.

Quite so - which indeed is my reason to deny psychiatry is a real scientific medicine. The above quotation is followed up thus:

The categorical imperative

This uncertainty flows from a profound ignorance about how brains actually work. Neuroscientists understand how nerve cells work. They also know which bits of the brain deal with vision, locomotion, language, memory and suchlike. But between these two anatomical levels all is darkness. Psychiatrists have thus had to use behaviour patterns as proxies for underlying problems. And what constitutes a pattern is too often a matter of opinion rather than a statistically rigorous fact.

Quite so, again - though even the understanding how nerve cells work is very far from complete. But otherwise I quite agree.
The main criticisms are that it medicalises normal behaviour and that the strict categories of mental illness it creates are increasingly at odds with what research suggests is actually going on in the brain.

Both criticisms are ultimately about names. (..) But diagnosis frequently leads to prescription, and lots of pills are thus being popped by people whose need to take them is, to say the least, questionable.
And again The Economist has it right - to which one may add that these "diagnoses" may be incriminating one for life, unlike the diagnoses real that is non-psychiatric doctorsn make. Plus the long-term dangers, and indeed the effectiveness of most of the prescribed drugs are not really known.

And as The Economist puts it, in conclusion:
Without a proper diagnosis, proper treatment is hard.

Veneration of the DSM is also harmful in research.  (..) the current over-reliance on one point of view in this extremely uncertain science is healthy neither for psychiatry, nor for those it treats.

Indeed - and in fact it seems to me as if psychiatry is still, and will be for the coming 10 or 25 years, not a science but in fact a pseudoscience, that abuses most of its patients, for the benefit of itself, and that can do so because nobody really knows what they are talking about (some very few subjects excluded).

For more on this, see my series on the DSM-5, and especially the quite long, but quite good 
Also, personally I find it rather ironic that the APA needs correction from The Economist, but as my readers will have seen The Economist is quite correct - and quite possibly because its writers know a lot more about methodology.

3. On the mB12-protocol

Actually, the walk I took 5 weeks ago today that rather upset my health was to get a bunch of pills that allow me to do the mB12-protocol. For more on that protocol, the latest I wrote about this was on April 10:
This also contains a good list of the vitamins and minerals I take, and the prices I pay.

There is a problem with the protocol I use, that also seems to hit some others: I sleep too little. This is a bit difficult to diagnose, because anyway I slept too little because I have problems with my eyes.

However, these eye problems lessened slowly, and are still lessening, and in April I did have a period of three successive weeks with averages of 7 1/2, 8 and 8 hours of sleep. This was quite a relief, for I have had months in which I scarcely slept 4 1/2 hours a night, on average, all because of sore eyes.

But then I started doing the protocol again, because it does help me some, in diverse fields also - and down went my sleeping times again, and I am now back at around 6 hours a night, which is really not enough for me.

I am now lessening the protocol some, particularly the mB12. This did help before. Otherwise, I have beem slowly improving, but this does suggest this is a strongly experimental treatment, that I would not use if I did not have M.E.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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