Angry scientists are throwing cheap insults at each other regarding the 'flawed' results of a landmark £5 million British study on chronic fatigue syndrome.
One medical journal dedicated its entire August edition to ripping apart the 'unreliable' trial, which was funded by taxpayers.
In response, three editors at the Journal of Health Psychology, who are all scientists, have resigned. One said the study displayed 'unacceptable one-sidedness'.
An upset co-editor of the journal hit back and told him to 'f*** off' for his 'attempted bullying', leaked emails obtained by The Times show.
He also called him a 'disgusting old fart neoliberal hypocrite' - despite once considering him a 'hero' and referring to him as a 'Trotskyite' in his younger days.
The argument, which provides an amusing insight into the world of academia, has come about regarding the controversial PACE trial, which was published in prestigious medical journal The Lancet in 2011.
Such findings of the study, long ridiculed by sufferers, have been used to help form the basis of treatment in Britain and the US and sparked a debate that the condition is merely psychological.
In response to the attack of the study, three editors of the Journal of Health Psychology resigned before it was even published. One, Professor George Davey Smith (pictured), of Bristol University, said it displayed 'unacceptable one-sidedness'
But Professor James Coyne, a co-editor on the journal, hit back and called him a 'disgusting old fart neoliberal hypocrite' - despite once considering him to be a 'hero'
It claimed to show those affected by it, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis - which affects around 17 million people worldwide, could improve with simple lifestyle changes.
But it caused intense backlash among patients, who said such findings contradicted everything they were being put through on a daily basis.
Before this month's issue of the Journal of Health Psychology, which slated the 'extraordinary' sum of the study, Professor George Davey Smith resigned.
It is unsure how long the clinical epidemiologist, based at Bristol University, had been on the board for before leaving his post.
The bitter row
But in emails obtained by the newspaper, James Coyne, a co-editor on the journal, made it clear he was happy to see him go.
The psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania wrote: 'I have become sick and tired of you badgering me backchannel.
'You had long been one of my intellectual heroes but in your attempt to bully me you moved from a Trotskyite in your younger days to a disgusting old fart neoliberal hypocrite.'
British scientists found encouraging people with ME to push themselves to their limits gives the best hope of recovery.
The 2011 PACE trial, published in The Lancet, was the largest trial to date of people with the mysterious and debilitating condition - based on 641 people.
Queen Mary University of London experts, among others, found up to 60 per cent of patients improved if therapists encouraged them gradually to do more.
By contrast, patients whose therapists encouraged them to accept the limits of their illness and adapt their