Thanks for visiting!

This project is now in update mode. Check back regularly to see how things are progressing.

Trial By Error: Reporting on ME/CFS and Related Controversies

$103,183
108%
Raised toward our $95,000 Goal
1,123 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on April 30, at 11:59 PM PDT
Project Owners

November crowdfunding...Why did Cochrane ghost the entire ME/CFS patient community for more than two years?

November 17, 2023

Dear Past Supporter of Trial By Error: 

Yesterday I blogged about the most recent developments in the ongoing saga over Cochrane's disastrous 2019 review of exercise therapy for what it still was calling CFS and the organization's efforts to produce a new version to replace it. It turns out that Cochrane basically ghosted the entire patient community during an "unplanned hiatus" in the process of developing the updated review. What's up with that???

Crowdfunding is my least favorite thing to do, but it has been the only viable way to fund my work. If you'd like to donate to November's crowdfunding campaign and help me continue to cover events in this field, please use this link:  

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/40018

DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! THAT'S A DEFAULT LINK THAT GOES TO A PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN.

Thanks much!--David

The final lap...

October 29, 2022

I am usually pretty miserable during these month-long crowdfunding campaigns. Each time, I'm sure it won't work out. And then, somehow, it does. The support and generosity usually make me want to cry because they're a measure of how desperate patients are for decent science and decent reporting about terrible and arguably or maybe definitively fraudulent science (PACE, Professor Crawley's Lightning Process study, etc). 

Over the last five or six years, these campaigns have raised more than half a million dollars in crowdfunded donations to Berkeley. That's pretty amazing. Now, with three days left in the month of October, the current campaign is coming to a close. To date, the effort has reached 93% of the goal. 

If you would still like to donate to this month's campaign, here's the link:

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/33528

TO DONATE TO THE CURRENT CAMPAIGN, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

(DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That default button is automatically included in this message and will take you to a previously completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.)

Thanks much for your support!--David


April 2022--Only ten more days and these messages stop!!

April 20, 2022

Thanks so much for being a past supporter of the Trial By Error project. I had previously thought about ending this project with the publication of the new ME/CFS guidelines from the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). That finally happened last October. With the new guidelines, the PACE trial had officially been discredited. And that was my goal when I started this project in October, 2015, with my 15,000-word investigation of that debacle.

But as things have turned out, the GET/CBT ideological brigades, as I've called them, are now seeking to revive their failed psychosocial approach and apply it to long Covid. I don't really think that's a good idea! That's a major reason I'm extending my project for another academic year. 

If you would like to support Trial By Error again, thank you!--and here's the link: 

crowdfund.berkeley.edu/tbe

TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

(DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That default button is automatically included in this message and will take you to last fall's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.)

Thanks much for your support!--David

April 2022 Crowdfunding

April 04, 2022

Thanks so much for being a past supporter of the Trial By Error project, which is dedicated to exposing problematic research on ME (including ME/CFS, CFS, etc), and so-called "medically unexplained symptoms." I have also been reporting on long Covid, since the same folks who brought you the GET/CBT approach for ME are trying to do the same with this worldwide phenomenon. If they succeed in psychologizing it, that's terrible news for ME patients as well. I'm doing my best to reveal the flaws in this research and make sure the focus is on proper science.

If you would like to support Trial By Error again, here's the link: 

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/31347

TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

(DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That default button is automatically included in this message and will take you to last fall's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.)

Thanks much for your support!--David

October '21 campaign reaches 97% of its goal, with three days left to send these messages...

October 28, 2021

Dear Trial By Error Supporters--

NICE announced today that it is finally publishing its new ME/CFS guideline tomorrow (Friday), capping two months of uncertainly. Publication of the guideline will have to be followed up with efforts to ensure that it has an actual impact on the health care patients receive. 

Thanks to all past and current donors. Here is the link to continue to support the project:  

 https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/27513

TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

(DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That default button is automatically included in this message and will take you to last year's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.)

Thanks again!--David

October 2021 crowdfunding campaign continues for 11 more days...

October 20, 2021

Thanks much for your past support for this project! I apologize for these repeat alerts--especially since many of you have already given this time. So far, the campaign has reached 53% of the goal, with 323 donors...

 https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/27513

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT AND TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

(DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That default button is automatically included in this message and will take you to last fall's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.)

-David

With 11 days to go, October 2021 crowdfunding campaign enters final stretch...

October 05, 2021

Thanks much for your past support for this project! I apologize for these repeat alerts--especially since many of you have already given this time. So far, the campaign has reached 53% of the goal, with 323 donors...

 https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/27513

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT AND TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

(DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That default button is automatically included in this message and will take you to last fall's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.)

-David

Just a couple of more updates!! Now at 93%....

April 28, 2021

Hi, all--It's been such a tough year for everyone. With so many people in need, I wasn't sure how this crowdfunding would go, so I am very touched by the response. If you haven't yet donated and still would like to help me in my efforts to expose bad research, now's the time! 

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/25504

TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! (That button is automatically included in this message and will take you to a completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.)

Thanks much!--David

Only Three More Days of These Crowdfunding Messages...

April 26, 2021

Hi, all--Berkeley's April crowdfunding campaign is now in its final sprint. Many of you have given already--thanks so much!! I am always very touched by the support, whatever the amount. If conditions permit, I hope to visit the UK again in the second half of the year for more reporting and in-person meetings, and perhaps other countries as well. 

Even if that's not possible, I certainly plan to continue exposing the research shenanigans of the biopsychosocial ideological brigades. They make it very easy for me with their awful work!

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/25504

TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That button is automatically included in this message and will take you to last fall's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.

Thanks much!--David

The campaign has just about reached 75% of the goal!!

April 24, 2021

Hi, all--For five years, I've been trying to bust the GET/CBT monopoly on treatments for this illness, and now it feels like the ground is finally shifting. With a final sprint to reach the goal, this crowdfunding will allow me to continue to pursue my academic project from June through December of this year.

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/25504

TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That button is automatically included in this message and will take you to last fall's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.

Thanks much!--David

Make These Messages Stop By Helping to Reach the Trial By Error Project Goal!!

April 20, 2021

Hi, all--For five years, I've been trying to bust the GET/CBT monopoly on treatments for this illness, and now it feels like the ground is finally shifting. If you'd like me to continue to pursue my academic project from June through December of this year, now's the time to make a donation to Berkeley to support my position at the Center for Global Public Health. 

With ten days to go, the project is at close to 2/3 of the goal.

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/25504

TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That button is automatically included in this message and will take you to last fall's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.

Thanks much!--David

Halfway through April's crowdfunding, and halfway toward the goal!

April 16, 2021

Hi, all--Thanks so much for having supported my Trial By Error project previously! The funds donated to the university this month will cover my academic position at the Center for Global Public Health from July through December of 2021. With 14 days to go, the campaign has achieved just over 50% of the goal! With well-known Guardian columnist George Monbiot now onto the PACE trial shenanigans, the next six months could be very fruitful for efforts to get it fully discredited.

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/25504

TO DONATE, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK!

DO NOT CLICK ON THE "READ UPDATE" BUTTON BELOW! That button is automatically included in this message and will take you to last fall's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.

Thanks much!--David

Two more days--and the campaign has reached 93% of the goal! Thank you!

October 29, 2020

In the beginning of October, I really didn't know what to expect with this effort, given the mess we find ourselves in. But now I've reached 93 % of the goal, thanks to more than 650 generous donors--thanks!! With two days, here's the link:

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/22602

 

********

 

 

(To donate, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK--DO NOT CLICK on the "Read Update" button below that is automatically included in this message. That button will take you to last year's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.) 

 

Thanks much!--David

Now at 79% of the goal!!--plus my new post on BMJ's retraction of pediatric CBT study

October 27, 2020

In these difficult times, I'm really touched to have reached 79 % of the goal, thanks to almost 600 generous donors, including many of you--thanks!! With four days left in October's campaign, here's the link: https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/22602

 

********

 

BMJ has retracted a bogus study of CBT and music therapy as treatment for chronic fatigue in adolescents after mononucleosis/glandular fever--but it has replaced it with one almost as bad. Here's my post about it: 

https://www.virology.ws/2020/10/27/trial-by-error-bmj-retracts-music-therapy-cbt-study-but/

 

********

 

(To donate, PLEASE USE THE ABOVE LINK--DO NOT CLICK on the "Read Update" button below that is automatically included in this message. That button will take you to last year's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.) 

 

Thanks much!--David

 

Closing in on 75% of the goal--and BMJ retracts a pediatric study of cognitive behavior therapy!

October 26, 2020

The campaign for Trial by Error has reached 73 % of its goal from more than 551 donors! For those who still would like to donate, here's the link:

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/22602

 

I really appreciate all the support--Thanks much!--David

 

**********

 

Last week, BMJ retracted a pediatric study of CBT plus music therapy--and the well-regarded blog Retraction Watch highlighted my role in pressing the journal to take action: 

https://retractionwatch.com/2020/10/21/bmj-journal-retracts-replaces-study-on-chronic-fatigue-in-children/

 

 

Past 70% of the goal--and today's post on the upcoming draft of the NICE clinical guidelines for ME/CFS

October 25, 2020

The campaign for Trial by Error has reached 71 % of its goal from more than 500 donors. For those who still would like to donate, here's the link:

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/22602

 

I really appreciate all the support--Thanks much!--David

 

**********

 

Today on Virology Blog I wrote about my predictions for the upcoming draft of the revision of the NICE clinical guidelines for ME/CFS, which will be published on November 10th. That’s one of the stories I plan to track going forward. Here it is: 

https://www.virology.ws/2020/10/25/trial-by-error-nices-upcoming-draft-guidance-on-me-cfs/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week is the 5th Anniversary of October 2015 publication of my 15,000-word PACE investigation!

October 23, 2020

I'm really pleased to have reached two-thirds of my goal for the October crowdfunding, thanks to 469 generous donors, including many of you--thanks! With one week left in the campaign, here's the link: https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/22602

 

*******

 

This week is the 5th anniversary of my first Trial by Error report on Virology Blog—a 15,000-word investigation of the PACE trial that piggy-backed on the work of smart patients and advocates. I assumed that investigation was a one-off! 

 

I thought The Lancet would have to address the trial's self-evident flaws and that would be that. Of course they didn’t address the flaws and that wasn’t that. I was really stupid then. It took a while to recognize that the obstacle was not a study but a powerful paradigm. So I kept chipping away at the paradigm.

 

And here I am five years later, still chipping away, and now crowdfunding donations to Berkeley to help support the project from January through June of next year, and doing this during an unfolding global disaster. Whatever the final crowdfunding outcome, I’m looking forward to continuing with my work. 

 

(To donate, please use the above link--DO NOT CLICK on the "Read Update" button below that is automatically included in this message. That button will take you to last year's completed campaign--not to the page for donating now.) 

 

Thanks much!--David

Update on October crowdfunding for Berkeley's Trial By Error project

October 22, 2020

With nine days to go, the crowdfunding campaign has reached 62% of the goal, with more than 400 donors. That's pretty good given what's going on out there right now! Many of you have already donated and as always I'm very touched by the support. 

 

This is the link to the current crowdfunding site:  https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/22602

 

The funding will allow me to continue with the project for the first half of next year as a senior fellow in public health and journalism at Berkeley's Center for Global Public Health. Here are recent developments:

 

*BMJ announced this week that it was retracting a CBT-and-music-therapy study that I had posted about multiple times. Retraction Watch cited my work in its story about the retraction. Because the retraction also functioned as a whitewash of the investigators' missteps, I will follow up with an analysis next week, followed by another letter of concern to the journal.

 

*I posted twice this week on issues arising from the emerging overlaps between ME (CFS, ME/CFS, etc) and the illness now being called '"long-covid." 

 

*It is five years this week since I published the first edition of Trial By Error, a 15,000-word investigation of the PACE trial. I'am writing a post about where things are now and what it means that I'm still doing this after producing what I thought at the time was a one-off.

 

*And other stuff...

 

Please use the above link rather than clicking on the "Read Update" button included in this message. That button will take you to last year's completed campaign--not to the page for donating to this month's. 

 

Thanks much!--David

News about my current crowdfunding for past supporters of Trial By Error

October 12, 2020

Hi, all--

 

Thanks so much for your past support. A worldwide pandemic is a challenging time to seek funding, given the difficulties we all face. Some of you have already donated to Berkeley's October campaign on my behalf. Many others might not yet have seen the notice. I appreciate all gifts, no matter the size. The funding will allow me to continue with the project for the first half of next year as a senior fellow in public health and journalism at Berkeley's Center for Global Public Health.

 

This is the link to the current crowdfunding site:  https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/22602

 

Please use the above link rather than clicking on the "Read Update" button included in this message. That button will take you to last year's completed campaign--not to the page for donating to this month's. 

 

Thanks much!--David

 

Final update for 2019 donors on Trial By Error's 2020 crowdfunding ending Monday night

May 03, 2020

Hi, everyone--The Berkeley crowdfunding campaign ends on Monday at midnight (California time). I am really moved by the support I have received.

 

I have slightly exceeded my goal of $40,000 in donations to Berkeley to support my position at the Center for Global Public Health for the first half of the 2020-2021 academic year--from July through December. The sole responsibility of my position is to pursue this investigation.

 

Any donations beyond the goal will go to cover travel costs for the project and/or to support my position for the second half of the academic year--from January-June, 2021. I will also participate in Berkeley's fall crowdfunding campaign.

 

This is the link to the crowdfunding site:  https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/20159

 

Please use the above link rather than clicking on the "Read Update" button included below in this message. That button will take you to last year's completed campaign--not to the page for this year's. 

 

Thanks much to all!--David

 

Update to my 2019 donors on this month's crowdfunding

April 30, 2020

Hi, all--I have been so touched that so many people have supported my campaign even during these harrowing times. I have now reached 90% of my current crowdfunding goal of $40,000, with four days left. The funding will help to cover the salary and benefits for my position at the Center for Global Public Health at UC Berkeley. The sole responsibility of my position is to pursue this investigation.

 

This is the link to the current crowdfunding site:  https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/20159

 

Please use this link to donate rather than clicking on the "Read Update" button included in this message. That button will take you to last year's completed campaign--not to the page for donating to this year's. 

 

Thanks much!--David

 

 

Oops again!! I sent the wrong link! It's a weird time. Very sorry!!

April 20, 2020

Oops!! I forgot to include the link for the current crowdfunding!!

April 20, 2020

An update on my current crowdfunding--

April 20, 2020

With two weeks to go, I have passed the 50% mark in my current goal of $40,000. The funding will allow me to continue my work from July 1st through December 31st--the first half of Berkeley's 2020-2021 fiscal and academic year. In the last few days, I have written about a post-covid "fatigue" pamphlet from Oxford health authorities that recommends GET and CBT and have renewed my efforts to highlight false claims being made about a web-based CBT program for people with irritable bowel syndrome. I will continue to pursue these and other stories going forward.

 

I would rather fund my work another way, but that has proven difficult. Certainly I would not have chosen this moment to seek financial support. Given the global trauma we are all experiencing, I am very touched by any support people feel they can offer. Thank you.--David 

 

 

This is Berkeley's crowdfunding month--despite the awful timing!

April 12, 2020

I wouldn't ordinarily choose to crowdfund during a global pandemic. But that's the way it is. (Actually, I wouldn't ordinarily choose to fund my work this way at all, but there don't seem to be other good options.) Berkeley decided to shorten but not cancel its standard April crowdfunding effort and to give all the projects another crowdfunding slot in October. So here's the link for the current campaign:

 

https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/20159

 

Thanks much for any support you can offer. --David

 

 

Levels
Choose a giving level

$10

Contribute $10

Thank you for your gift of $10 USD!

$20

Contribute $20

Thank you for your gift of $20 USD!

$50

Contribute $50

Thank you for your gift of $50 USD!

$100

Contribute $100

Thank you for your gift of $100 USD!

$250

Contribute $250

Thank you for your gift of $250 USD!

$500

Contribute $500

Thank you for your gift of $500 USD!

$1,000

Contribute $1,000

Thank you for your gift of $1,000 USD!

$2,500

Contribute $2,500

Thank you for your gift of $2,500 USD!

Our Crowdfunding Groups