By Gail Kansky
The National CFIDS Foundation has, for decades, been adamant about both GET and CBT being not only wrong for those with ME/CFIDS but absolutely detrimental. The majority of physicians who continue to advocate graded exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy are mainly in the U.K. although there are a few who continue to practice this in the U.S. despite scientific discoveries about CFIDS/ME that shows the illness to be in the chronic immune area. One of the very first physicians to spend decades not only documenting this disease but discovering new scientific evidence, Paul R. Cheney, M.D., Ph.D. was one of the leading forces who died this past June but is remembered and missed by thousands of patients who have welcomed his intelligence and his clinical work to try to help the disease that had stolen their normal lives away.
Dr. Cheney graduated from Duke University in 1975 and, two years later, received his doctorate degree from Emory University School of Medicine. He worked at the CDC’s Division of Immunology and then at a USAF Hospital in Idaho before going into private practice in Nevada along with Dr. Daniel Peterson. Both Dr. Peterson and Cheney documented a large cluster outbreak of CFS patients in Lake Tahoe. He then moved to Charlotte, NC and opened a private practice for ME/CFIDS patients while continuing clinical research. His research found evidence of specific T-cell activation which showed much higher elevation than the control group. His clinical practice saw him spend hours treating individual patients and he had dozens of papers published in peer-reviewed medical journals. He was the founding director of what now is called the International Association of CFS/ME which began as the American Association of CFS. He went against the CDC that downplayed ME/CFIDS.
The insightful and knowledgeable and fearless Dr.Cheney had a heart transplant several years ago. At an international ME/CFIDS conference held a few years before he died, he said, “The whole idea that you can take a disease like this and exercise your way to health is foolishness. It is insane.”
RIP, Dr. Cheney. We will never forget you.
“My father (Dr. Paul Cheney), an MD/PhD who we lost this year, withstood decades of professional ridicule for specializing in CFS. He once said, ‘Western medicine is great at emergency care, but horrible at chronic disease.’”
The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 *(781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606