Alem Matthees was the original requester of the anonymised data of the PACE study, a controversial study which concluded with strong data that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET) was the preferred treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. On 24 March 2014, he filed a UK Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the data, but Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), the institution that sponsored the PACE study, denied his request. On 18 June 2014, Matthees requested an internal review, but QMUL again denied his request. On 15 Dec 2014, he filed a complaint to the Information Commissioner (IC). In October 2015, the IC ruled in Matthees' favor that the researchers were required to release the anonymised data of the study. QMUL appealed but again lost their appeal in Aug 2016.
Alem's health suffered significant from the effects of the FOI request and tribunal. One year after the tribunal Alem remains very ill and bed-ridden.
- 2016, Finalist for Wego Health Awards for Health Activist Hero and Lifetime Achievement
Information Commissioner's Full Response
- 17 January 2017, "How Alem Matthees’ letter helped solve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome mystery" by Jason Murphy in news.com.au
- 2017, Can patients with chronic fatigue syndrome really recover after graded exercise or cognitive behavioural therapy? A critical commentary and preliminary re-analysis of the PACE trial (Abstract)
- 01 Dec 2015, Treatment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Letter by Alem Matthees in Annals of Internal Medicine
- Apr 2015, Assessment of recovery status in chronic fatigue syndrome using normative data, by Alem Matthees in Quality of Life Research: "A diagnosis of CFS excludes many chronic disabling illnesses present in the general population, and CFS cohorts can almost exclusively consist of people of working age; therefore, it is suggested that thresholds for recovery should not be based on population samples which include a significant proportion of sick, disabled or elderly individuals. It is highlighted how a widely used measure in CFS research, the SF-36 physical function subscale, is not normally distributed."
- 16 December 2015, Matthees' Comments to Retraction Watch "...the fact that the trial is repeatedly promoted to patients and clinical commissioners as definitive and highly robust, patients and independent researchers have every right to demand a re-analysis..."
- 11 Dec 2015, Comments to PLoS One article by Matthees, Adaptive pacing, cognitive behaviour therapy, graded exercise, and specialist medical care for chronic fatigue syndrome: a cost-effectiveness analysis."There are crucial facts and context missing from QMUL's (and now KCL's in part) narrative of anti-science harassment against the PACE trial. They appear to conflate all significant criticism with harassment without any regard for the validity of the comments made...."
- 21 January 2015, Comments to BMJ article by Matthees, Tackling fears about exercise is important for ME treatment, analysis indicates"AllTrials supporters may be interested in the multiple major deviations/additions to the PACE Trial protocol, apparently occurring almost exclusively after the authors were already unblinded to the trial data and familiar with the distribution of various outcomes..."
- Jan 8, 2017, How Alem Matthees’ letter helped solve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome mystery by Jason Murphy
- Nov 29, 2016, Alem Matthees: how an Australian’s FOI request busted open a UK science scandal by Sasha Nimmo
- Aug 16, 2016, Tribunal Orders Release of PACE Trial Data (QMUL v the IC and Matthees), by Valerie Eliot Smith
- Wilshire, C; Kindlon, T; Matthees, A; McGrath, S (2017), "Can patients with chronic fatigue syndrome really recover after graded exercise or cognitive behavioural therapy? A critical commentary and preliminary re-analysis of the PACE trial", Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior, 5 (1): 43-56, doi:10.1080/21641846.2017.1259724
- Matthees, Alem (April 2015), "Assessment of recovery status in chronic fatigue syndrome using normative data.", Quality of Life Research, 24 (4): 905-7, PMID 25304959, doi:10.1007/s11136-014-0819-0