HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 cc432-3W
Gareth Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research his Department has sponsored into the causes of ME. [58739]

Ms Blears

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is the main Government agency for research into the causes of and treatments for disease and receives its funding via the Department for Trade and Industry. The Department has asked the MRC to develop a broad strategy for advancing biomedical and health services research on chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). The MRC will be appointing an independent scientific advisory group which will include scientists with expertise in areas such as epidemiology, physiology, immunology, infections, clinical trials and psychological medicine. The MRC will be consulting with its consumer liaison group members as to the best means by which patient and charity perspectives can be taken into account.

The Department has not recently funded any research specifically into the causes of CFS/ME. The Department funds research to support policy and the delivery of effective practice in the national health service. However, the Department is supporting research on cognitive behavioural therapy in CFS and on family focused cognitive behavioural therapy for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome. Recently completed departmental-funded research projects on ME include a systematic review to determine the effectiveness of treatments and interventions for patients with CFS/ME.

Details of research projects supported through the national health service research and development levy can be found on the National Research Register (NRR) at: www.doh.gov.uk/research.nrr.htm The NRR contains many details of projects/trials funded by the research councils and other funders.

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