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Key Backer of Psychological Theory of ME/CFS Responds to NIH/FDA Findings on Dutch TV - Not a 180, But Not Rejection Either?

  [ 12 votes ]   [ 5 Comments ] • August 31, 2010

Featured in a YouTube video with English Subtitles, the August 30 Dutch TV show “Een vandaag” showcased interviews regarding the watershed August 23 NIH/FDA paper published by PNAS* that reports evidence of a retrovirus in many ME/CFS patients. The program features:

Dr. Kenny De Meirleir, MD, PhD, a leading ME/CFS physician-researcher with a lab in Brussels, Belgium (REDLABS) who offers tests for XMRV;

A Dutch ME/CFS patient who tested positive for XMRV and has started treatment with antivirals by De Meirleir in Belgium;

• And Dr. Jos WM van der Meer, until now a prominent force behind insistence in the Netherlands that ME/CFS is a psychological problem. Van der Meer - chairman of General Internal Medicine at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre - is co-author of a recent paper reporting failure to find evidence of XMRV in ME/CFS patients’ blood.

Note: According to the video subtitles Dr. van der Meer responded to the patient's statement that "This is wonderful news, I think," saying "You could call it earth shattering" which might imply acknowledgment of its potential importance ("earth shaking," an English speaker might say). But, as astute reader tiki123 suggests in the comments below, by another translation in transcript form the meaning was more like "world shocking," and Dr. van der Meer was referring to "the controversy surrounding the virus, not the ME/CFS-retrovirus in itself." A low key response in any case, with many innings left in this particular game.


* "Detection of MLV-related virus gene sequences in blood of patients with Chronic fatigue Syndrome and healthy controls."

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Article Comments Post a Comment

Jos van der Meer: not really a 180° turn
Posted by: tiki123
Aug 31, 2010
Many people seem to misinterprete what Jos van der Meer said on the EenVandaag programme. What he called 'earth shattering' was the controversy surrounding the virus, not the ME/CFS-retrovirus connection in itself. You can read a literal transcription in English here (sorry if I made some mistakes, I am not a native English speaker): And this is a transcription in Spanish:
Reply Reply

From the translation...
Posted by: Juloo
Aug 31, 2010
Taken from the English translation: Jos van der Meer “....Hey, it is said by people with chronic fatigue syndrome that ‘you don’t die of it”, but maybe that is the annoying thing about it.....” Yeah, darn, it is so annoying that I don't die of it. Hope that was just a weird translation to English, and that he didn't really mean that. P.S. THANK YOU for the link to the translated interview. Very interesting indeed.
Reply Reply

English transcript
Posted by: tiki123
Sep 1, 2010
I put the quotes in the wrong place! It is the patients themselves who are saying "you don't die of it, but that's the annoying part of it". Big difference.


Sophie Mizra died of it
Posted by: oerganix
Sep 1, 2010
It is said by people like Dr Van de Meer that people don't die of it, but people who are knowledgable do not say that. People DO DIE of ME/CFS. If you don't acknowledge the disease exists, how are you going to admit someone died of it? Something else is usually put on the death certificate.
Reply Reply

If not 180, then maybe 90 degree turn?
Posted by: oerganix
Sep 1, 2010
Upon reading the translation (thanks Linda) it appears that van der Meer is open to the possibility that ME/CFS has a viral cause. In his following utterances, he does not repeat any psychobabble from the past and acknowledges that a viral cause has long been suspected. Then he says "..but until now, definitely, a causal agent has not been found". The question remains, will he try to spin the original viral cause into a psychological one, one of "illness beliefs" that persist after the virus is no longer active, the way those other psychobabblers do?
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