Fighting Iain Duncan Smith and Our Stats Campaign

It seems lately that every day another minister for the DWP has something disastrous to say about claimants. The whole scroungers rhetoric took on a new slant in the beginning months of this year with statistics like, 71% of DLA recipients on life time awards left to languish un checked and 8,000 move in to work because of the benefit cap. These sorts of figures, of which there are numerous, are hard enough to swallow at the best of times, and these are far from the best of times. For disability campaigners it is hard to almost daily, see stats we know cannot be true, banded about like the crock of gold at the end of the welfare reform rainbow.

This is how our campaign started really, we were both on Facebook both bemoaning yet another press release from Esther McVey that announced another appalling stat that both Jayne and I knew to be nonsense; I said “someone should right an open letter to that woman”, Jayne replied “are you up for it” and I think my reply was, “what me!’” and it went from there. We drafted an Open Letter to Esther McVey the Minister for Disabled People and put it up on line asking people to sign it; over the space of a month or so, 866 people signed the letter and left comments, some angry, some supportive of what we where trying to do, and some harrowing stories of Work Capability Assessments and hardship brought about by the so called reforms.

Whilst we were promoting the open letter and collecting signatures Jayne approached change.org about setting up a petition. It had been decided early on to send a copy of the open letter to the Work and Pensions Select Committee, including any comments along with the list of signatories, asking them to investigate the misuse of statistics by the DWP. We sent a copy of the letter and signatures to Dame Anne Begg the chair of the select committee, and continued to update her as the open letter grew. So it made sense to address the petition to the same Work and Pensions Select Committee, given their particular interest in the open letter and pages of comments. They W&PSC are responsible for monitoring how changes in policy and laws, effect people on the ground and can investigate when things go astray; they can also investigate MPs behaviour.

We launched our petition and waited to see what would happen, not really expecting very much and we were pleasantly surprised when it started to climb quite quickly. In the mean time we had closed the open letter and sent both a hard copy (by special delivery) and an email copy to Esther McVey, and several other politicians. We had discovered after launching our letter that many other people were trying to get some action to stop the DWP ministers misusing stats; from other disability groups, through to MPs and even members of the select committee, so it seemed our letter and petition were timely.

We sat back and waited for a reply from Esther McVey…….. None came….. But…. The petition with change.org had succeeded spectacularly; currently standing at 100,593, it has also been mentioned in several national newspapers including the Guardian and the Newstatesman.

After a month or so we decided we needed to nudge the DWP regarding a response to the open letter, and so we wrote a second letter asking for such a reply; this was both emailed and hand delivered to Esther McVey’s office by a fellow campaigner. This time we didn’t wait and we drafted a template letter for supporters to send to their MPs asking them to find out why the open letter had been ignored. This got us an official reply very quickly, but it didn’t answer any of our original points and was very dismissive; we forwarded this to Ann Begg who did not seem amused, nor were we.

A few days later we were contacted by Anne Begg to inform us that…

“we will be questioning the Secretary of State himself on the use of Statistics as part of his evidence session on the Department’s Annual Report which will be at 9.30 am on Wednesday 4th September.”

Unfortunately the wheels of parliament run slowly and a couple of weeks later we received another email…

“Just to let you know that we are having to postpone our evidence session with the Secretary of State as the DWP won’t have published its Annual Report until after the House returns in October. As the Sept session was to include both the finances of the dept as well as its use of statistics, it is better that we have the information from the Annual Report before quizzing IDS.”

I don’t yet have a date for the session but will let you know once I know.’

So this is where we are now; we have in the pipeline another letter to Esther McVey demanding a proper and considered reply from her and not a sectary, and we have October to look forward to. We also hope to be handing our petition in to Liz Kendel MP outside the Houses of Parliament, where she will then submit it to the floor of the House of Commons. We are trying to arrange this as close to the date we get from the W&PSC, for the meeting with Iain Duncan Smith, as possible; adding the voice of over a hundred thousand people to those MPs and campaign groups that have also called for the committee to investigate.

In the mean time we intend to keep collecting signatures and evidence of the misuses of stats by MPs and Ministers and continue to try to get a reply from the disabilities minister.

Jayne and I had met some time before all this, on facebook and twitter and we are mutual members of many FB disability campaign groups; we have both in the last few years become increasingly involved in various campaigns and campaign groups. Jayne describes herself as a fifty(ish), disabled woman (including Fibro) who worked full time for over thirty years as a community activist, adult tutor & counsellor whilst also raising her, now adult children; until her health degenerated to a point her GP compelled her to leave employment 4 years ago. Since then she’s been fighting the system to claim contribution based ESA & DLA she’s had 4 ATOS assessments and has been through 3 reconsiderations, where she had to persuade DWP decision makers, that her Dr & consultants are actually correct and 2 tribunals (both successful). The trauma of these experiences alongside battling with officers at her Local Authority for Housing/Council Tax benefit on each occasion has made her very cynical about the rationale behind all of the ‘Welfare Reform’ cuts. She is also a carer for her partner who also has a chronic long-term condition.

As for myself I am a 48 yr old mum with Fibromyalgia diagnosed 17 yrs ago, I have a six yr old with SPD, and I’m a carer for my partner who has bone cancer and MSSA bone infection.
I get DLA and I have a job. I’m a community education art lecturer, I work with people with mental health problems, and I also have my own business that I’m struggling to keep a float with no help, because I don’t meet the DWP’s minimum income floor for the work programme.

I got involved with the We are Spartacus Network a couple of months after I had my own ESA assessment; which was a month before I was due to go self employed (what a waste of money that was), I was found ‘Fit for Work” no big surprise, even considering I am still ill. I am also a co founder of Disability Matters UK a disabled person led disability organisation.

I have watched my students and sick and disabled friends fall foul of the ESA process; people who ARE genuinely sick and disabled being left with next to nothing to live on and living in fear of the PIP assessments to come. And I have watched these same people as they bang their heads against a wall this government has created, a wall fashioned out of spin and misinformation to discredit all claimants of DLA, so they appear to be fakers, even though the fraud rate of DLA is a tiny 0.5%. The reality of these people’s lives is so much worse than most can imagine.

Iain Duncan Smith in his capacity as Minister for the DWP and the 4 junior ministers under his authority since the coalition was formed, have all persistently misused statistics and rhetoric to justify the changes to Social Security.

We feel it is important that ministers do not misuse statistics to push forward with controversial policies – Ministers have:
A) Duty to Parliament to account, and be held to account, for the policies, decisions and actions of their departments and agencies,
B) N/A
C) It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister,
D) Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest, which should be decided in accordance with the relevant statutes and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Ministerial Code

It is important ministers take responsibility not only themselves but also for their ministerial team’s actions and this is why we wrote the Open Letter to Esther MCVey and started the Petition to ask the Work and Pensions Select committee to investigate.

Since writing this we have had a second hand reply via Michael Meacher MP who received a reply from Ester McVey in reply to his query about us having not had an adequate reply it is long winded and basically doesn’t answer anything … We will be following it up…

Thanks for spending time and spoons to read this I know its long Phew!
Jayne and Debbie

Groups we are involved with…
WOW Petition
Deaep
We Are Spartacus Network
Disability Community UK Facebook Group
Disability Matters UK (Blog)
Disability Matters Facebook Page
UK Fibro Facebook Group
Cornwall Fibro Facebook Group
Talk about Fibro/ CFS/ ME Only Facebook Group
Cancer support for Partners and Carers Facebook Group

Our Blogs
Jayne Linney
Debbie Sayers Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind

Background articles about this story on our website

Iain Duncan Smith not appearing before Work and Pensions Select Committee on 4th September to answer questions about his use of statistics to make political points published 27th July 2013
Successful E-Petition on benefits heads to parliament published 19th July 2013


Elizabeth McSweeney e-books now available on Kindle, Kobo & Smashwords

As the title suggests all five volumes of the Elizabeth McSweeney “Fibromyalgia: Road to Recovery” books are now available on Kindle, Kobo & Smashwords. They are currently £1.99 for Fibromyalgia Awareness Week and the links for all the different formats are available from our Ebooks Section or at the bottom of this post.

Author Elizabeth McSweeney suffered from the debilitating pain and fatigue, associated with the condition, for seven years before finding her own path to recovery. These volumes represent four years of research including current medical papers (referenced), as well as results from her own original ethnographically styled survey, disseminated through UK Fibromyalgia Association. Each volume contains contributions from over forty other individual’s suffering from the condition, including ‘top tips’ for symptom management and daily coping.

Elizabeth says, “I’m not saying you can ‘cure’ yourself in three days, but these are the healing principles and daily protocol I follow to maintain a pain free, medication free and ‘fibro’-free life. I believe the false meme that ‘fibromyalgia is for life’ is causing unnecessary suffering, and my intention is to offer hope and support to anyone taking their own first steps towards recovery”.

More about Elizabeth and her books can be found in our Ebooks Section after I recently updated it after getting in contact with her through Twitter. You can also follow her on twitter here.

Buy now links

The books on Kindle
The books on Kobo
The books on Smashwords


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Personal Update

I just thought I would do a quick update as I have not been able to post for ages. At the moment it takes around 7 days to recover if I spend part of one day out of bed. My body freaks out so much, its like it thinks I have run a marathon and had a car accident on the way back or a similar experience. The first thing it wants to do is pull my sleeping round to sleeping all day and being up all night, its like my bodies default setting and I have never learnt how to reset it. This means I’m often awake at night, in pain and its almost impossible to think. Hence why I have not managed to post or communicate for a long time. I thought I better say something so you know why I have not been able to respond to messages, share things on Facebook/Twitter, or write any articles recently. However I am still here!

If anyone has had the same problem with their body clock and managed to resolve the issue please get in touch. Its most certainly a sleep disorder, when I’m not “recovering” fro, being out of bed or before I became this ill I was exactly the same. During the day I was tired, my body ached and my brain just didn’t work, to call it a fog feels like an understatement. Yet at night I felt awake, in control of my mind and body and ready for anything! I was the exact opposite of my colleges who liked the day shift and hated the nights, I would have elected for permanent nights if I could, I could patrol and respond all night long, much to the annoyance of colleagues at the time. It was no surprise I couldn’t hold down a shift pattern down for long really. Now it feels like I’m on a different planet, every day I’m asleep in bed and every other night I’m wide awake, full of aches and pains while everyone is asleep, its ever so isolating. My daughter has woken up in the night twice on the run, its the only time I get to see her. Its bizarre but I almost want her to wake up every night in her cot and ask to go to the toilet as its the only time I get a Daddy cuddle from her to keep me going for the next 24 hours. However I’m worried it might become a routine for her if she realises she has found one way she gets to see her Daddy, for the rest of the time all she can do is gently open the door to see Daddy asleep, all day, every day, after every day! Bless her, it sucks, I really must figure out a way of rebooting this broken exoskeleton I was issued at birth so I can change the BIOS setting back to “sleep at NIGHT!”


A couple of articles that caught my eye

My Friends have posted a couple of links that caught my eye today, I thought I would share them but it would take more than 140 characters. So I elected not to use twitter as my main medium for link sharing on this occasion.

They are:

Did I touch a nerve Iain Duncan Smith? (IDS)” On Diary of a Benefit Scrounger.

and…..

I’m proud of our welfare reforms” or as I like to call it, “The dangerous delusions of Iain Duncan Smith” on The Guardian Website.

I also saw on the Sky News ticker (on the bottom of my TV) that disabled families lost their High Court attempt to block the coalition’s benefit cuts for council house residents with spare rooms. My views have always been clear, personally I am against the recent benefit reforms as they are simply not fit for purpose.

The “main” problem I believe is that benefit reforms need to look at a persons disability and ability to work. At the moment the reforms only look at a persons disability, they do not look at their ability to work in any way at all. This isn’t the fault of the DWP, Jobcentre or ATOS Healthcare, it is a problem with the legislation. This legislation is not fit for purpose and the hidden costs could cripple the countries finances as a single issue. I am not saying these agencies/companies are not problems in themselves but they are not “the” problem above all other problems.

After reading in detail the legislation it does not take into account, at any stage, what is required to “be employed” or “retain employment”. Therefore looking into a persons ability or lack of ability is useless because at no point is the “employment test” defined, let alone applied. The government would have us believe that a company made up of disabled people would perform just as well and be just as profitable as a company made up of fully able people. This is simply not the case, by very definition the disabled are not able to do certain things abled people can do.

They need to look at it from an employers perspective, they need “work” doing, so taking into account the potential employees needs, would if be fair to expect them to do this “work” reliably enough to pay a wage in exchange for the work being done? Or should we continue to legislate to force employers to pretend everyone has the same abilities and different expectations are wrong and illegal?

This is why the descriptors are wrong, they assess the ability to perform the tasks outlined in the descriptors only. They do not even start to assess if it realistic to require the claimant to become an employee, or if it is realistic to expect an employer to employ them.


Iain Duncan Smith not appearing before Work and Pensions Select Committee on 4th September to answer questions about his use of statistics to make political points

This is an update to the original story published on 19th July 2013:Successful E-Petition on benefits heads to parliament

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) was supposed to be attending the Work and Pensions Select Committee on 4th September 2013 to answer questions about his use of statistics to make political points. This was the official response to a successful “E-Petition”(over 100,000 signatures) filed by Jayne Linney from Leicester and her friend Debbie Sayers.

However Jayne Linney has posted an update on her website after she received the news he would not be attending to answer questions on 4th September as planned. To explain the latest this is the update from Jayne Linney:

After last week’s post where we confirmed IDS WOULD be attending the W&P Select on Sept 4; we now have yet a further update!!

Sheila Gilmore MP yesterday wrote:

“I am afraid that IDS is now NOT coming to the meeting on September 4. This was always going to be a session on the Department’s annual report as well as the statistics and apparently the Annual Report is not ready. A new date is being sought but this is now unlikely to be before October, which is extremely disappointing”

Clearly this is NOT what we want but there’s nothing we can do except continue with our plans to formally submit our petition to Parliament; actual date to follow; this is disappointing to say the least but it makes our petition all the more relevant as it reads – “Work & Pensions Committee: Hold IDS to account for his use of statistics”.

Entering 100,492+ signatures into the Commons should help the members of the W&P Select ensure that IDS DOES attend in Oct & that he IS held to account. So we ask you all to continue to work with and share, Tweet ,talk about the petition and let’s do everything we can to make sure IDS DOES is made to answer for his Untruths and to remind Parliament WE the People Deserve the TRUTH!

Further Reading

The original “E-Petition” filed by Jayne Linney & Debbie Sayers
Jayne Linney announces her and Debbie Sayers petition has reached 100,000 signatures (12/06/13)
UPDATE – IDS WILL answer for misusing Stats (on Jayne Linney’s website)
Jayne Linney’s website
Debbie Sayers website
Jayne Linney on Twitter
Debbie Sayers on Twitter
HM Government “e-petitions” website


Successful E-Petition on benefits heads to parliament

UPDATE: 27th July 2013: Iain Duncan Smith not appearing before Work and Pensions Select Committee on 4th September to answer questions about his use of statistics to make political points”

I wanted to make you all aware of some great news on the subject of Disability Benefits, Government E-Petitions and specifically The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith (IDS).

The Petition in question

The Petition in question was an “E-Petition” filed by Jayne Linney from Leicester and her friend Debbie Sayers. They refer to themselves as being disabled as well as being disability activists. To show you what their successful petition was about I will refer you to the description provided by Jayne when she set the petition up:

“We are both disabled as well as being disability activists. We experience pain and suffering ourselves and see it in our friends, families and colleagues. It is one thing to live with the physical challenges of a disability. It is quite another to hear lies and misinformation every day from our own government.

We have watched sick and disabled friends fall foul of the Employment and Support Allowance process and seen people who are genuinely sick and disabled being left with next to nothing to live on. Some are living in fear of the Personal Independence Payments assessments to come. In this climate, which is confusing and intimidating for some of the most vulnerable in our society, those in power should be operating to the highest standards of integrity and accuracy. Recent reports suggest that the Work and Pensions Secretary may have misrepresented Government statistics to make a political point.”

This quite rightly makes the point that Iain Duncan Smith may have misrepresented Government statistics to make a political point. There has been a lot about this anger within the media and various websites have brought stories to readers claiming to have caught IDS out in his misrepresentation of statistics.

Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)

Jayne also mentions benefits like ESA which has always been a controversial benefit since its conception and has been called unfit for purpose and broken by several disability charities. We have even written articles regarding the sheer volume of ESA paperwork for the claimant and how DWP give conflicting advice about whose responsibility and cost it is to obtain medical reports. Controversy often surrounds ATOS Healthcare who conduct Work Capability Assessments on behalf of the DWP under contract so that decision makers can decide if a claimant is eligible for ESA. There has also been equal criticism of ATOS and their medical reports that regularly find people fit for work when they obviously are not. Many readers may know that it took me 3 years to to secure the correct levels of ESA & DLA I was legally entitled to and since then have helped others fight appeals & tribunals. I often say: To claim you are unfit to work you actually need to be fit enough to work full time on your case in order to prove it and receive what you are entitled to be law.

The Governments attack on “Benefit Scroungers”

Since the government commenced their campaign against “benefit scroungers” attacks on the disabled have increased according to the media. What the politicians do not seem to realise is that people who claim benefits by lying also lie to doctors and ATOS medicals and thus generate the evidence for a successful claim. Meanwhile people who are eligible get turned down when they provide “honest” descriptions of their medical problems that are not exsadurated, that are not “singing from the rooftops” and because they try not to waste doctors time often do not have the documentary evidence to back their claims up. Unfortunately they soon get turned down at the first hurdle after an ATOS assessment and once this happens it is the claimants responsibility to provide evidence, prove their medical was not accurate and pay all the necessary cost and charges.

Anyway back to the petition

People obviously feel the same on mass and I’m delighted to say that that Jaynes petition succeeded in getting the 100,000 electronic signatures required on the 12th June 2013 at 0932 as announced on her blog. Unfortunately there did then seem to be a little confusion but from the government side of things and on July 17th Jayne provided readers of her blog with this update:

“After some confusion about when the petition by myself & Debbie Sayers will be submitted to Parliament; and maybe even more importantly if IDS will attend the Work & Pensions Select Committee – I’m really pleased to share an email I received from Dame Anne Begg chair of the Select today

I am thrilled to confirm that our petition with it’s current 100,433 supporters will be formally submitted into Parliament by Liz Kendall MP, after she receives it outside the Palace of Westminster on September 4 2013.

Many Thanks to all of You who signed, shared, tweeted & pushed for this & let’s hope Mr ID Smith is thoroughly held to account”

Email from Dame Anne Begg chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee:

“I can confirm that IDS will be appearing before the Work and Pensions Select Committee on Wednesday 4th September where he will be asked questions about the DWP’s Annual Report and the Department’s use of statistics.

Best wishes
Anne”

My Opinion

The fact this petition got over 100,000 signatures is nothing more than fantastic. I don’t think e-petitions are the most inviting way for people to show their support but nevertheless this only means Jaynes victory is sweeter. These victories are probably far less common than you think and this shows the government when they misrepresent the disabled to score political points the public will not accept their behaviour. It also shows them how much the issues surrounding ESA, PIP & ATOS are on the minds of a substantial number of voters. Putting the specific issue of the petition aside this victory will make them think twice when considering decisions surrounding disability benefits as they have just been told “we’re watching you” by over 100,000 people.

Regarding the issue itself it is one I fully support, for such a long time statistics have been used for political point scoring but I do believe it crosses a line when these politicians do this when they hold in their hands the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society. Yes there are those who are making fraudulent claims, this is why we have such offences in legislation as some people are committing criminal offences but I believe it is the responsibility of the government to differentiate between the honest claimant from the dishonest criminal claimant whenever possible. If they do not, if they carry on as they are, they are encouraging stereotypes and prejudice within society. Whenever they misrepresent the statistics and deceive the public about the proportions of criminal claimants to honest claimants, real people will believe vulnerable citizens are more likely to be dishonest and disabled than honest and disabled. We all know the lessons of how prejudice views within government can be responsible for some of the worst atrocities of mankind.

I have invited Jayne to write about her cause and/or victory, here on my website, as she is more than welcome. They can be made in a post of her own or as a section in a post of mine. She is however very busy as you can imagine and as we are fairly new and less established than some other websites it may not be the most efficient use of her time. If you would like to hear more from her I would direct you to her twitter account and her blog in the first instance.

Background of Government E-Petitions

Their introduction

In the summer of 2011, the Government introduced a new website for registering e-petitions. The Government announced that any e-petition that reaches 100,000 signatures would be passed to the House of Commons Backbench Business Committee.

The Concept

If an an E-petition gets 100,000 signatures The Leader of the House writes to the http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/backbench-business-committee/e-petitions-/ to notify the Committee that an e-petition has 100,000 signatures. This does not guarantee a debate in the Commons, but triggers consideration by the Committee. This could eventually lead to a debate of the matter in parliament or by the committee.

The Stages

There are a number of stages the petition can go through before a debate, these are:

STAGE 1: Epetition gets 100,000 signatures.
STAGE 2: The e-Petition is presented to the Backbench Business Committee by an MP at a weekly meeting.
STAGE 3: The Committee decides whether to allocate a debate on the subject of the e- petition.
STAGE 4: The Committee decides whether to schedule a debate.
STAGE 5: The Government allocates time to the Committee for debates to be held.
STAGE 6: The debate goes ahead.

Source: E-petitions and the Backbench Business Committee flowchart (.pdf)

The Numbers

There are currently 6,020 open petitions
There are currently 16,225 closed petitions
There have been 19,662 petitions that have been rejected

(at the time of writing)

Topics that have made it do debate

There are only a small number of e-petitions that have made it to a House of Commons debate after reaching the 100,000 signatory threshold, these are:

  • Convicted London rioters should lose all benefits
  • Full disclosure of all government documents relating to 1989 Hillsborough disaster
  • Cheaper petrol and diesel, by Robert Halfon and FairFuel UK
  • Put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK
  • Make financial education a compulsory part of the school curriculum
  • Give Kevin Williams his inquest under section 13 of the coroners Act, we have all the evidence under this section but keep getting refused
  • Public & Private Pension Increases – change from RPI to CPI
  • Drop the Health Bill
  • Return VAT on Air Ambulance fuel payments
  • No to 70 million
  • Reconsider West Coast Mainline franchise decision
  • Children’s cardiac surgery at the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre at Glenfield, Leicester
  • Stop the badger cull
  • Beer duty escalator
  • The Oliver King Foundation – Sudden Adult Death Syndrome
  • Stop mass immigration from Bulgarian and Romanians in 2014, when EU restrictions on immigration are relaxed
  • Return Shaker Aamer to the UK
  • There have also been Backbench debates on other petitions that exceeded 100,000 signatories here is a list and an explanation of what took place in parliament because of them:

  • National referendum on the European Union
    (Full day in the Chamber on 24 October 2011 in Backbench time – MP Mr David Nuttall)
  • Remploy
    (Half-day in Westminster Hall on 15 December 2011 in Backbench time – MP Ann Clwyd)
  • Appointment of a Minister for Older People
    (Half-day in the Chamber on 28 June 2012 in Backbench time – MP Penny Mordaunt)
  • These figures we last updated by government 26/04/13

    When will Ian Duncan Smith Appear for questioning?

    Currently we believe he will appeal before the committee on 4th September 2013. This may be available to watch live on BBC Parliament but we should know nearer the time. The best way to keep informed is to follow us on Twitter or click this link which will activate a week before 04/09/13 to show what will be shown on the day in question (you are looking for coverage of Work & Pensions Select Committee).

    Links

    External Links

    The original “E-Petition” filed by Jayne Linney & Debbie Sayers
    Jayne Linney announces her and Debbie Sayers petition has reached 100,000 signatures (12/06/13)
    UPDATE – IDS WILL answer for misusing Stats (on Jayne Linney’s website)
    Jayne Linney’s website
    Debbie Sayers website
    Jayne Linney on Twitter
    Debbie Sayers on Twitter
    HM Government “e-petitions” website
    E-Petitions and the Backbench Business Committee
    E-petitions and the Backbench Business Committee flowchart (.pdf)
    List of House of Commons debates on e-petitions which reached the 100,000 signatory threshold
    Article on IDS and his misrepresentation of statistics (Morning Star Online Website
    BBC Parliament
    What will be shown on BBC Parliament on the day in question (04/09/13), this will not work until a week before this date, you are looking for coverage of Work & Pensions Select Committee)

    Internal Links

    ESA
    DLA
    ATOS Healthcare
    About Me
    Appeals & Tribunals Guide
    Article: “DWP issue conflicting advice as everyone is swamped with benefits paperwork”
    Article: “Benefits paperwork overloading claimants”


    Bottom half cold, top half hot!

    Thought I would do a quick personal post as I haven’t done one for a little while. Due to the hot weather we have had recently it has made a little problem of mine all the more uncomfortable. My legs and feet are always cold, as I live from bed they are normally under the covers, but my top half is nearly always hot! What’s that all about? Its extremely bizarre and a bit of a nightmare to manage. I am not joking when I say I can be dripping with sweat and have stone cold legs. I am guessing circulation may be one of the problems or perhaps some of the nerves problems down by L5/S1? Who knows, it could even be down to morphine dependency and the damage to the pituitary as that messes with the bodies thermostat at the best of times.

    When I am out of bed I nearly always wear long johns. A good friend came round for a takeaway and a chat the other day, I took my morphine and had a nice time for a couple of hours. But I hadn’t put my long johns on, that night was terrible, I was up all night in pain. I couldn’t sleep because the pain was so bad I couldn’t actually keep still. Around 4am I took a hefty narcotic cocktail which finally put me out ending the misery. It had been a week since I last had a day out of bed but I was still “recovering” from that, perhaps I did it too soon or should have put my long johns on. To be honest its quickly becoming my number 1 mobility concern and need to think of a better solution, if I wear long johns to much I can get UTI’s which are not nice either. Oh and I forgot to mention on my first edition that it was one of the hottest days this year too when these happened!

    Duloxetine is my little wonder drug though, before taking that I had the pain in my legs 90% of the time. Its like a crushing pain, as if your legs are in a high air pressure tank, its really bizzare. However overnight the first dose of Duloxetine flipped the odds and I was 90% pain free in my legs (well as far as that specific pain goes anyway). I always remembered my maternal grandad’s knees sounded like someone was scrunching paper all the time, my mum developed this in her 40’s and I developed it in my teens! Not much hope for me although x-rays have come back clear apart from
    Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease as a teenager. Not much hope for those knees then!

    It just reminded me of the pain and suffering a simple home visit can bring and the person visiting has no clue of the result, although I wouldn’t really want them to know and wouldn’t change a visit, maybe just my choice of Long Johns!

    I would like to hear from anyone with similar problems, especially those in their 20’s or on the same medication.


    Why is it important for us to know what causes Fibromyalgia?

    Why I decided to write this article

    I would like to explain to people why I think the question “What causes Fibromyalgia?” is such an important one to ask. I also feel it is very hard for people who do not have Fibromyalgia to understand why this question is so important to people with Fibromyalgia. I would also like to think this article could help bridge those gaps and help Fibromyalgia patients to explain why this question is so important to them.

    Background

    This is a question I have been considering for some time, on and off. Today I had a conversation with a Fibromyalgia patient in her twenties who I could really identify with, as I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in my twenties. This conversation got me thinking about the question again, why is it important for us to know what causes Fibromyalgia?

    As you can probably imagine, the answer isn’t straightforward, there is no one “all encompassing” reason but rather a number of, no less legitimate, reasons.

    Human Nature

    It is in our very nature to be curious, no matter what you believe about the creation of human kind you soon realise that our curiosity is very important to us, humans. I also do not believe this is entirely accidental, yes some more than others need to find the answers to everything, but rarely do you come across a person who has never asked the question “why?” in their lifetime. I am, by nature, an analytical thinker. In psychology this element is often measured alongside other characteristics to analyse our personalities. It is not simply a question of “are you a thinker or not?” But rather where are you along the scale: Do you think a little? Do you think a lot? The very fact this element is on a scale rather than a simple, yes, or no, shows us we all have this element in our personality and is part of what we consider to be human nature.

    So why is it an important part of Human Nature?

    As humans we have had a very successful dominance on our planet, we can often be considered to be at the top of the food chain, or at the least threat of extinction. No matter what you believe about our creation, selection or evolution we are sure to agree that as humans we are survivors. I don’t want to lose people here thinking this is a post about psychology but it won’t be the only time I refer to psychology in this article.

    As survivors we need to recognise patterns, quite simply, if I do A it harms me, if I do B it benefits me. We are programmed to recognise this and to B not A. This very basic concept has ensured our survival as a species so far. When it comes to our health it is very important to know what is good for us and what is bad for us, as the potential penalty is so high. It is only recently that we have developed medicine and we are starting to leave the more complex analysis of health issues to a group of people we hold in high regard, doctors. For most of our time on the planet however this analysis has been very individual and how well be think, could be a matter of life or death. Quite simply we are programmed to try and work out what is healthy and what is unhealthy. That way we can make an informed choice about what we do, if the penalty health wise is low, we might do it a little but if the penalty is high then you will probably find we don’t do it a lot, if at all.

    As this is hard wired into human nature we are unsettled if we don’t know what causes something. Fibromyalgia as a concept is very difficult to work out. Sometimes if we walk 1km we feel fine, sometimes if we walk 10 metres we become ill. Naturally we want to understand this to be in the best of health so we can live happy and fulfilled lives, without undue concern about our health. Unfortunately Fibromyalgia is very complicated indeed. But we are programmed to want to understand it.

    To understand something we need to gain knowledge about a given subject. When it comes to health “what causes” something is a huge part of this knowledge. In the history of humanity, our very survival has been based on solving “what causes X?”, what causes the plague, cancer, AIDS? We have also learnt that we can only prevent things happening after we have understood what makes them happen in the first place. Our medical understanding of Fibromyalgia/CFS/ME is very limited indeed, not just as individuals but as a species. At the moment we can not treat Fibromyalgia with much success and we can not cure Fibromyalgia at all! This is the first reason why “understanding what causes Fibromyalgia?” is so important.

    Our Private information

    Fortunately Fibromyalgia does not appear to be contagious, but other than that we don’t really know that much about it. Yet we can all agree that having Fibromyalgia is detrimental and not having Fibromyalgia is beneficial. Therefore it is important for us to know we can not give it to others. Throughout history medical conditions have either been contagious or non contagious. The way a condition is passed to another person has become very “socially” important to us because often it says something about our actions or our life choices. Disease can be passed through being “unhygienic” or “unclean”, it can be passed through our genies and it can be seen a “defect” or the ultimate social taboo is passing something through sexual contact. This sexual contact can also, on occasion reveal our sexual preferences, sexual boundaries and even who we may have had sexual contact with.

    So here “what causes” a health condition can say so much about us socially, it can reveal our lack of personal hygiene, our genetic differences or how or who we have has sex with. These or often considered very private matters, so it is important for us to understand what causes a health condition so we understand if it reveals something about us we would rather keep private. We are also aware that these statements about us are not always accurate, sometimes our understanding of transition type has been wrong, however it can not simply be corrected as these things have developed into social stigma, social prejudice and social stereotypes. For example during the AIDS epidemic initially some people believed you could only catch it through homosexual practices, so if you had AIDS then you have obviously had homosexual sex? That was the belief for quite sometime and remains a social stigma today even though we know AIDS develops from HIV, which can be contracted through sexual contact with ANY sex, through blood products/transfer and possibly poor hygiene in medical procedures (needle sharing etc). So if we have a condition where its cause is unknown, what could it say about our private lives in future? No matter how accurate they may be. This is one reason why we want to know what Fibromyalgia says about us.

    What it says about our lifestyle and our choices to others

    We have also learnt that having a health condition can say so much about us beyond the things that we like to keep socially private. Our medical understanding has been a recent revolution and for the first time in history generations of people now know certain lifestyles or certain choices can cause health conditions or make them worse. For example we know being overweight increases our chance of diabetes, smoking increases our chance of cancers and heart disease. We also understand that people who are physically fitter, generally have better overall health and suffer less medical complaints that those who are unfit. So what does Fibromyalgia say about us? The fact is we don’t yet know, it is unknown, we have clues but no concrete answers. Could our choices prevent Fibromyalgia or not? Does it mean we are more likely to lead an unhealthy lifestyle, make poor choices, or be lazy people? We do not actually know. As times goes by we “slowly” have more information but we are years, if not generations away from any definitive answers.

    Can other people get Fibromyalgia because I have it?

    This isn’t quite the question “Can someone catch it from me?” But it encompasses it. As mentioned earlier we look at any condition and categorise it, for example. Is it viral? is it bacterial? is it fungal? Is it genetic? Is it because of my personality or lifestyle? Am I sure I can not pass it on to anyone?

    At first glance we know most of the answers are “no” but can we actually be sure:

    Looking at all the different theories out there makes you wonder. Often the onset of Fibromyalgia is linked to a severe illness like the Flu, so does it somehow ride in with a virus or bacterium? Often theories involve an undiscovered transmission from plants or animals like Lyme disease, so could I have caught it from a person? An animal? A plant? At a specific place? Often theories cite a genetic weakness so did I get it from my parents? Did I have a genetic weakness that activated because I did something or caught something? Often theories cite a psychological cycle so do I have a psychological problem?

    All of these questions have implications, their answers could mean that we could either pass Fibromyalgia on or help stop Fibromyalgia developing in others if we knew the answer. If we (people with Fibromyalgia) found out for certain we could do something to reduce the risk of others getting Fibromyalgia I’m almost certain most people would make that their number one priority in life. Especially if “others” were your children, your partner, your family, your friends or your neighbours. While most indications point to us not being able to take evasive action we are still going to think about it. The implications are just so large for it not to be a concern to some of us. We know this condition well and for most of us it has a severe impact on our lives and everything we do, so its only natural to try and stop others experiencing the same.

    I have often heard the phrase “I wouldn’t wish this on my enemy” used in discussions between Fibromyalgia patients and I think it is a very telling phrase when it comes to considering what we would do if we could stop people from getting the condition.

    How to manage our condition

    We have also learnt as a species that certain conditions can be controlled better than others. However we also realise that this knowledge is often gained after we learn what causes the condition in the first place. Due to the fact we don’t understand what causes Fibromyalgia we don’t have definitive answers about what makes it worse and what makes it better. We know that while the cause remains unknown the best we can hope for is collective trial and error. We rely on others with our condition finding ways to ease it and we rely on them telling everyone else too. Yet we know as Fibromyalgia patients, what works for others does not always work for us, but how can we understand why this is without first understanding what causes Fibromyalgia in the first place?

    How It makes us vulnerable

    As a species we have also learnt that were there are questions, there are opportunities. We know that generally one person in 7 billion is likely to know “the answer” (What causes Fibromyalgia?) first. Then from that they share this knowledge, this carries on, until we know the answer as well. We know at some point the answer will probably be found so we need to remain open but how do we know when the answer in genuine or not? How do we, with limited medical knowledge, test and verify any persons claim to know “the answer.” As we have this question some people could take advantage of this opportunity to deceive.

    We understand that “the answer” could be the key that unlocks to door to a normal life, but so do others, perhaps they know how desperate we need “the answer” or what we would do to get “the answer.” This is when we realise we are vulnerable, we know that scams, fraud and deception are rife among human kind, we have all been a victim of deception or know a victim of deception so we see that victims become victims because they desire “something” and “someone” can take advantage of that.

    Victims of scams often only need to desire something little to get caught out and we know this. Often people are conned out of a few pounds due to a slight desire to make a few pounds. However we also understand we could be conned out of our life savings if we desire something strongly enough. So we actually realise how vulnerable we are, as patients with Fibromyalgia we know we would probably give a limb, or a huge sum of money to know “What causes Fibromyalgia?” and we understand this makes us very vulnerable indeed. However this quickly becomes a “catch 22” situation because if we knew “What causes Fibromyalgia” we would suddenly become far less vulnerable and susceptible to the scams. Some of us may know Fibromyalgia patients who have been conned out of cash over the Internet for the “Big Fibromyalgia cure in a tablet” only for them to find it didn’t help in the slightest.

    We understand that our desires make us vulnerable, that the strength of our desires can determine what we are prepared to lose and that our desire to understand what causes Fibromyalgia is huge, making us very vulnerable indeed.

    What does Fibromyalgia say to us about our choices?

    We have discussed about what Fibromyalgia could reveal to others about our choices but what could they reveal to us?

    We know that stress can make Fibromyalgia worse, so did we make choices that were too much stress for us to handle?
    Did we choose a job or career that was too stressful?
    Did we have a relationship with someone that put us under too much stress?
    Did these things make it worse or could they have caused it in the first place?

    These are questions we often ask ourselves. It is a natural part of reflection and we have discussed how thinking and curiosity is programmed into us and how sometimes is can really benefit us. However all of the little questions all come down to one big question; What causes Fibromyalgia?

    It is no surprise to find most of us review our choices in the past and ask what if? The simple fact is no one knows. It does not make the question any less important however we should appreciate that there are an infinite amount of “what if’s” we can ask during out lifetime. One day I would like to know the answer and I really hope I do. It would be interesting to know if I could have avoided some of the pain I have been through and it could really benefit my decision making in the future if I knew the answer.

    Does asking the question “What causes Fibromyalgia?” actually cause Fibromyalgia or make it worse?

    Before you say “What? No,” just humour me for a second. Most of the people I know with Fibromyalgia are the “curious”, “analytical” types. Heck I wouldn’t be writing articles in the early hours of the morning if I didn’t think about Fibromyalgia all the time and have such a drive to want to help others with it. Perhaps these elements of our characters or personalities exasperate our condition?

    On an assessment for a pain management course I was asked about what I do to try and help my condition. My answer involved a little bit about my lifestyle but also a lot about what I do to research the condition, help others with the condition and push for answers about the condition. This took a very long time to explain but at the end of it I was told that I needed to learn to let go of these things and accept I have Fibromyalgia, that I always will have the condition and that it will remain a mystery to me otherwise all my efforts would continue to make my condition worse. This is the first time I had been confronted by the opinion that continually looking for the answers actually makes the condition worse and perhaps causes it in the first place. This took place quite some time ago and after a great deal of consideration I dismissed this theory as incorrect. However to balance this article a little I decided to mention it as this theory is held by a lot of the medical profession and does have some interesting elements to it. I certainly agree that at times our frustration with our search for answers can manifest into physical health problems or perhaps make some symptoms worse. As such I have eased off the gas pedal a little when it comes to research as I acknowledged senses of frustration which can again cause physical problems. I also wanted to mention it as you may come up against this view when you explain why the question “What causes Fibromyalgia” is so important to you to others.

    Conclusion

    I believe we are hard wired as humans to ask “What causes Fibromyalgia?” and the more we are effected by Fibromyalgia the more we will want to ask the question. I do not think its something to be ashamed of by any means and in fact is demonstrates we want to learn to better ourselves, to lead happier and healthier lives. Throughout history this mechanism has contributed to our success as a species on the planet and I personally believe trying to avoid the question would go against what it is to be human. For patients an answer could unlock the doors to so many possibilities and I think we all need to push a little for the question to be answered. I also hope I have managed to explain to people without Fibromyalgia why the question is so important to us and why it has a multitude of implications for us, our friends and families.

    The voice of reason

    I have tried to objectively explain why this question “could” be very important to those with Fibromyalgia and why most other questions actually boil down to this one question after analysis. I have also discussed some of the potential implications of the question remaining unanswered and thus some of the potential implications of the question being answered in the future. However a lot of these implications are very unlikely and although we can not rule these possibilities out completely I should point out the chances and probabilities to put them in perspective. If you remain considered and vigilant you are unlikely to be a victim of deception for example. Also although we don’t know what causes Fibromyalgia the chances of you passing it on to others are remote and if it is genetic you probably could not do anything to limit the chance of it being passed on anyway. In the future there is likely to be far more knowledge about the condition, its causes and how to treat it as history has demonstrated to us about illness in the past. If any of this article causes you significant concern you should discuss it with a medical professional who is far better placed and far more knowledgable about medicine than I am. Things need to be put in perspective and not taken out of context, these are just some of the things that could concern patients and there may be many more I have missed, but its unlikely for a patient to be concerned about them all for most of the time. However if you feel you are concerned about the majority of issues raised most of the time you may really benefit from a medical perspective and various talking therapies available to help you cope with your concerns.

    I also encourage comments and would love to see people’s opinions under this article, have I missed anything? Did you find it useful or not? What are your more significant concerns? Etc etc.


    Researchers found a hidden sensory system in the skin, now it solves the mystery of Fibromyalgia?

    I have been wanting to write about this for some time and a recent study going round the Fibromyalgia circles has prompted me to write as the evidence that this sensory system is behind Fibromyalgia mounts up.

    Background

    For me this story takes me back to 2009 that was just two years after I was diagnosed with the Fibromyalgia which took away my still young career in the Police. At the time I was doing some quite heavy research into Fibromyalgia, as many of you reading this would have done also. Its not a great journey, you find glimmers of hope that turn into dead ends and all you really learn is nobody really has clue about what is different about Fibromyalgia patients. However is this about to change?

    Back in 2009 I got quite excited about some research from Albany Medical College which seemed very promising, I remained quite sceptical, but, the story seems to have carried on and an update has come to light in Journal of Pain Medicine. It also came to me from a strange place, and from someone whom I have a great respect for. It was actually Derren Brown, or rather his blog post back in December 2009 called “RESEARCHERS FINDS HIDDEN SENSORY SYSTEM IN THE SKIN“. I will simply say he is an excellent psychologist and true, honest, showman. But without further delay I will tell you about the research itself.

    The Research pre 2009

    The research team discovered a hidden sensory system by studying two unique patients who were diagnosed with a previously unknown abnormality by the lead author David Bowsher, M.D., (Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool’s Pain Research Institute.) These patients had a congenital insensitivity to pain, meaning that they were born with very little ability to feel pain. Although this is fairly rare a lot of people have heard about the condition as in more extreme cases sufferers can regularly cause themselves injury just because they can feel no pain. Now some people, especially those with Fibromyalgia may instinctively want to trade places with these individuals but think about this, how many times have you burned things by accident or left something on your stove too long while cooking? Well imagine this object was a limb, or a hand, the first thing you notice may be a burning smell? Well think about that smell for a moment and imagine finding you had left your hand on a running gas ring by accident! This is the true horror of the condition where “accidents” like this happen regularly of these individuals who lack the feeling behind that instinctive movement of yanking your hand out of the way when you burn it.

    Leaving the the slightly morbid descriptions behind, doesn’t this sound like the complete opposite to Fibromyalgia? It did to me, so when I found out about the research I quickly found a respect for the logic. I mean: if you learn more about individuals with a condition which is totally opposite on a spectrum, then surely there is a chance you will stumble on something which explains why you are at the other end?

    The strange thing with these two individuals were that conventional tests revealed that the skin sensations of this individuals was severely impaired, including their response to different temperatures and mechanical contact. But these individuals also had adequate sensation for daily living and could tell what was warm and cold, what is touching them and what was rough and smooth. So if conventional tests showed severe impairment, what system was actually working for them in practice that was giving them some sensation? The mystery deepened when skin biopsies were analysed and skin from these individuals showed that the normal nerve endings that give people these sensations were not present in the samples, so what was producing a feeling in individuals who lacked the nerve endings associated with our sense of touch?

    The answer appeared to be in the presence of sensory nerve endings on the small blood vessels and sweat glands embedded in the skin. “For many years, my colleagues and I have detected different types of nerve endings on tiny blood vessels and sweat glands, which we assumed were simply regulating blood flow and sweating. We didn’t think they could contribute to conscious sensation. However, while all the other sensory endings were missing in this unusual skin, the blood vessels and sweat glands still had the normal types of nerve endings. Apparently, these unique individuals are able to ‘feel things’ through these remaining nerve endings,” said Dr. Rice. “What we learned from these unusual individuals is that there’s another level of sensory feedback that can give us conscious tactile information. Problems with these nerve endings may contribute to mysterious pain conditions such as migraine headaches and fibromyalgia, the sources of which are still unknown, making them very difficult to treat.

    The Research post 2009

    This was what was revealed back in 2009 about two patients without Fibromyalgia. However the same researchers seem to have carried on their research by working with Fibromyalgia patients. They have now presented again in a medical Journal in 2013. Since this 2009 report they have taken skin samples from the hands of Fibromyalgia patients and were surprised to find an extremely excessive amount this particular type of nerve fibre (called arteriole-venule (AV) shunts.) Now they’ve discovered that there is a direct link between these nerves and the widespread body pain that Fibromyalgia sufferers feel. In the hand these nerve fibres play a role in regulating body temperature, opening to permit blood to bypass capillaries and save heat and causing the hands to get cold. Under cold conditions, the shunts become especially active, perhaps a reason why the cold bothers fibromyalgia patients so much. The pathology the scientists discovered among the AV shunts and the resulting alteration of blood flow could also be the source of achiness, muscle pain, poor sleep, and cognitive issues linked to the disorder.

    20130630-153311.jpg

    Dr Rice was one of the researches that used unique microscopic technology to study the small skin biopsies and Dr Rice seems to have developed a possible hypothesis about Fibromyalgia. “In addition to involvement in temperature regulation, an enormous proportion of our blood flow normally goes to our hands and feet. Far more than is needed for their metabolism. As such, the hands and the feet act as a reservoir from which blood flow can be diverted to other tissues of the body, such as muscles when we begin to exercise. Therefore, the pathology discovered among these shunts in the hands could be interfering with blood flow to the muscles throughout the body. This mismanaged blood flow could be the source of muscular pain and achiness, and the sense of fatigue which are thought to be due to a build-up of lactic acid and low levels of inflammation fibromyalgia patients. This, in turn, could contribute to the hyperactvity in the brain.”

    My Thoughts

    It certainly looks like this research is actually quite promising and it certainly seems to have quite a bit of research behind it, in contrast to other “discoveries” that have been revealed on my website like “The Fibromyalgia Blood Test.” Now this research isn’t purely academic and the interests of companies and in particular Drug Companies are present,although it makes me a little sceptical it is quite common. The hope is that the drugs companies involved may be able to develop a future medication that can act on this particular nerve fibres and either reduce the intensity of the signals they send to the brain for pain perception or reduce their sensitivity all together in order to balance blood flow and temperature control in Fibromyalgia patients. In this case it is probably positive news to hear that the research has been funded by two drug companies who may have an interest in developing this medication in the future. While anything practical for Fibromyalgia patients is a long way in the future it could be a potential breakthrough in the understanding of the mechanisms behind the condition which has not really progressed for decades. At the moment most medications that are used are simply designed work on our current understanding of general pain perception rather than any understanding of the condition at all, so at this point it seems to be positive news.

    I also think this could “possibly” be involved in the problems I have with blood tests as it could explain the pain and my bodies shock reaction.

    Who exactly is behind this research?

    Trying to work out who is involved often takes a lot of time and a lot of research but to present a rounded view I do try to dig out what I can. Most of the research seems to have taken place in the USA, however in this instance the two patients who were used to originally start the research seem to be patients of David Bowsher, M.D., (Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool) and joint founder of The Pain Research Institute, a division of Neurological Science at the University of Liverpool, UK. This institute is also connected with a charity called “The Pain Relief Foundation” which was established as a registered charity in 1979, in response to the need for specialised research into the causes and treatment of chronic pain in humans.

    The research was published by a renowned “Albany Medical Center” neurologist and pain specialist Dr. Charles E. Argoff who was the studies primary investigator. His collaborators were Dr. James Wymer also at “Albany Medical College” and Dr. James Storey of “Upstate Clinical Research Associates” in Albany, NY, USA. The skin biopsy tests were conducted by “Integrated Tissue Dynamics LLC (Intidyn)” which is a small biotechnology research company, founded by neuroscientists Dr. Frank L. Rice and Dr. Phillip J. Albrecht.

    The clinical research proposals were funded by “Forest Laboratories” and “Eli Lilly” which are both pharmaceutical companies who have previously developed FDA-approved medications with similar functions (Serotonin/Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, SNRI) that provide at least some degree of relief for many fibromyalgia patients.

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    Articles and websites I used to write this post

    Blog Post by Derren Brown (December 2009) called “RESEARCHERS FINDS HIDDEN SENSORY SYSTEM IN THE SKIN
    “Researchers finds hidden sensory system in the skin” on PHYS.org
    “Absence of pain with hyperhidrosis: A new syndrome where vascular afferents may mediate cutaneous sensation” on painjournalonline.com (Journal of the International Association for the study of Pain) published online 16 October 2009
    “Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved!” written by Rebecca Savastio on The Guardian Express (online) published on 20th June 2013
    “Rational Biological Source Of Pain Found In The Skin Of Patients With Fibromyalgia” on Medical News Today (online) published on 19th June 2013
    “Doctors Confirm Fibromyalgia Is Not Imaginary” on redorbit.com written by Lee Rannals on 18th June 2013
    “Researchers Find Possible Biological Basis for Fibromyalgia” on Yahoo News (online) written by Vonda J. Sines on 19th June 2013
    “Researchers find hidden sensory system in the skin” on Integrated Tissue Dynamics Website
    The Pain Relief Foundation (UK) website
    The Pain Research Institute (UK), a division of Neurological Science at the University of Liverpool, UK website
    Integrated Tissue Dynamics LLC (Intidyn) website
    Albany Medical Center (USA) website
    Forest Laboratories (USA) website
    Eli Lilly (USA) website


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