Here is Dr. Starlanyl's response to Newsweek!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by klutzo, Jun 6, 2003.

  1. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    This is what I sent. I don't know if they will publish it, but I tried. Thanks for letting me know. what we don't need is more negativity. Please let me know if they publish my letter. {{{}} Devin

    Dear Editors, Thank you for your article "Fibromyalgia: Not All in Your Head," in the May 19th edition. I am concerned about the letter on page 20 of the June 2nd edition, written by Tracy M. Baker, and believe that this may letter may be a source of misinformation. It is true that objective findings in fibromyalgia (FM) are not found by simple lab tests, but that makes the condition no less real. The objective findings are there, it just takes a research lab to document them. FM is not just widespread pain, is not a wastebasket diagnosis, and patients are ill-served by treating it as such. Adults who meet the American College of Rheumatology definition of FM "appear to have distinct features compared to those with chronic widespread pain that do not meet those criteria" (White, Speechley, Harth et al. 1999). Studies indicate that FM patients may have multiple hormonal and autonomic imbalances, "leading to profound physiological and clinical consequences" (Adler, Manfredsdottir, Creskoff 2002). It is associated with dysautonomia (Raj, Bruillard, Simpson 2000). "Chronic.imbalance of the autonomic nervous system is a prevalent and potent risk factor for adverse cardiovascular events, including mortality"(Curtis, O’Keefe 2002). The pain stimulus (of FM) may contribute to long-lasting changes in central nervous system excitability (Staud, R. Smitherman M. L. 2001). FM is real, it can be serious, and part of the cost to the health care system may in part be due to the failure of the medical community to promptly diagnose and treat FM and its perpetuating factors.

    Dr. Baker claimed that labeling patients with FM encourages them to claim disability, but research indicates that the "...FM label does not have meaningful adverse affect on clinical outcome over the long term (White KP, Nielson WR, Harth M et al. 2002.) One paper states clearly that although "...some authors claim that an epidemic of FM has been fueled by an over-generous Western compensation system, there are no data that demonstrate an increasing incidence or prevalence of FMS; moreover, existing data refute any association between FM and compensation. Claims that the FM label itself causes illness behavior and increased dependence on the medical system also are not supported by existing research" (White KP, Harth M. 2001). "The most aggressive challenges of the FMS concept have been from legal defenses of insurance carriers motivated by economic concerns. Other forms of critique have presented as psychiatric dogma, uninformed posturing, suspicion of malingering, ignorance of nociceptive physiology, and occasionally have resulted from honest misunderstanding" (Rau, Russell 2000). It is acceptable for doctors who do not understand FM to refer patients to doctors who do. It is not acceptable for a doctor to take money to treat FM when that doctor doesn’t even believe that FM exists. For more information on fibromyalgia and myofascial pain, including an extensive reference section for health care providers, visit (Edited to remove URL)

    Devin J. Starlanyl

    P.S. From Klutzo - I need your help on this since I do not subscribe to Newsweek. Will those of you who do subscribe please keep checking the letters sections and post here if they print her letter so I can let her know? Thanks.

    [This Message was Edited on 06/06/2003]
  2. Princessraye

    Princessraye New Member

    I hope they print the letter. I also hope she signed it MD :)
    I don't get newsweek but will keep my eyes open in case I see one.
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I seriously doubt they will print it. They like letters to be short and to the point. Bless her heart for trying and it is obvious from her reply that she is knowledgeable and passionate.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Even if they do not print letters more than one issue from the date of the article, I do know that someone there does read feedback.

    Love, Mikie
  4. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Will keep up with Newsweek, and let you know. Thanks for writing it all out for us.

    The articles that were in the original issue on pain was very technical.
    The only one I found not technical was the one on page 53 (May 19), it was written by Ann Underwood, and the subject was Lynne Matallana, the lady who suffers from FM.

    Newsweek is always written on a high scale. I know, I have to go look up words when I read it, been doing this for 30 years!
    Time Magazine, and US News and World Report are the same. I subscribed to them all at one time.

    I would say Devin wrote like she sees it.........

    Shalom, Shirl

  5. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I didn't mean to imply that I didn't think it's a good letter; it is excellent. It is obvious, as I stated above, that she is passionate and knows what she is talking about.

    It's just that most magazines do not usually print long letters in the "Letters" area regardless of the level of their articles. I hope they make an exception in this case.

    Love, Mikie
  6. LeLeHpr

    LeLeHpr New Member

    That letter was fantastic. Thanks for coming to our defense!
  7. vinetti23

    vinetti23 New Member

    It's great to see the studies summarized like that. It is very well written & hits the essential points. The unfortunate thing is that in Newsweek, the letters that they print are usually 2 sentences. Maybe they'll give you an editorial page :)

    What was the initial issue that had the innacuracies about FM? I have dozens of copies of NW laying around that I haven't thrown out... do u know what was on the cover or what week/month it was?
  8. Applyn59

    Applyn59 New Member

    Thank you so much Klutzo for keep on top of this
    and getting something done as a result!

    Keep it up!
  9. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    Vinetti23 - the article was in the May 19th issue and the nasty letter from Dr. Tracy Baker was in the June 2nd issue on page 20.

    Thanks everyone. I do see that it is very long, and it looks like she forgot to put the M.D. after her name,which is a very unfortunate oversight. They also would probably not allow the plug for her website. I'm just glad she cared enough to take the time to do anything. After all, this was not billable time.

    Over the years, I have had three letters to the Editor printed myself, one in a newspaper and two in magazines. In both of the magazines, they edited my letter down to about 2 sentences. Only the Newspaper printed my whole letter.

    Shirl, thanks for checking to see if they print anything. I appreciate it.

  10. pearls

    pearls New Member

    I love Dr. Starlanyl and own two of her books. She has helped me immensely. Nevertheless, Mikkie is correct about the need for tight writing. Dr. Devin can get overlong and esoteric. Thanks for sharing her reply, though, Klutzo. She's certainly out there fighting for us all.

  11. Sissy123

    Sissy123 New Member

    The letter is too complicated and too long. I have had fibro for many years and dont understand some of what she said, so I know the public, the layperson will never understand it or read it because it looks like scientific evidence that only a doc could understand. I know she could shorten it and put it in laypersons terms so the average person can try and understand it. Thanks for the effort though. We need those of you on our side.
  12. vinetti23

    vinetti23 New Member

    Hmm... the "family practice physician in a small community" sentence should nullify the whole thing. (I'm talking about the letter in Newsweek, not the one above from Dr. Starlanyl). Dr. Baker is qualified to speak on the subject? I don't think so... I get her point, but as Dr. Starlanyl's letter clearly shows, Dr. Baker is entirely wrong. Nothing she said is based on any study or reseach - just her opinions (I guess that's what they publish in letters to the editor...) and of course Dr. Starlanyl's letter- which IS all research & fact based won't be published. Also, I read the original newsweek article on FM and it describes the PET scans and various genes involved - and the neurotransmitters involved. Yet Dr. Baker says no "objective pathology" - helooo - did she even read the original article?

    Anyway - for those of you w/o Newsweek - this is what Dr. Baker wrote...

    As af family-practice physician in a small community, I enjoyed your articles about new advances in pain management. But I'd like to comment on your article on fibromyalgia...The American College of Rheymatology approved diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia in 1990, but I believe that was a mistake. the condition is not associated with any objective pathology, and diagnoses based solely on symptoms are prone to error and abuse. What bothers us physicians is that by labeling fibromyalgia a disease, we encourage people to claim disability. Most of us don't want our taxes supporting someone who is not truly disabled.
    [This Message was Edited on 06/07/2003]
  13. ssMarilyn

    ssMarilyn New Member

    I get it and will watch the letters column and report anything I find in reference to the letter. I believe they often edit and shorten letters, so it might just show up there.

    Marilyn :)
    [This Message was Edited on 06/07/2003]
  14. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    Dr. Tracy Baker is a man! (It figures).
  15. Achy-shaky

    Achy-shaky New Member

    I think her letter is a great summary and really hope they print it. I also love her books and have all 3 - I truly believe in her trigger point therapy for myofascial pain theory...that your FM will not get better until you treat the myofascial trigger has been a Godsend to me.

    Sounds like Dr. Baker needs to upgrade his education - what kind of doctor is he anyway? There are other disease that are dx by symptoms only - what about Parkinsons? Before I was dx with FM I had a neuro tell me I most likely had early Parkinsons just by my symptoms after doing tests to rule out other diseases. After a my dx from a Rheumy I went back to the neuro and told him about the FM and he said he didn't know much about FM but that it was very possible I didn't have Parkinsons!

    Hugs & Blessings,
  16. ssMarilyn

    ssMarilyn New Member

    Baker is a small town doc, where black is black and white is white. I come from a small town, and medical care there always left alot to be desired.....still does. They don't keep up on the latest things, and they certainly don't seem to believe in these "yuppy" diseases.

    Marilyn :)