The suggestive nature of the evidence is very weak, yet its played as if it were strong. It is likely that most MUS (medically unexplained symptoms/syndromes) in history have been failed diagnosis, whether through medical failure or insufficient medical research at the point in history, or simply not having the tests available or affordable. Take almost any so-called MUS of the current age, from IBS to Fibromyalgia or even ME. Lots of things can be shown to be wrong using tests, the problem is not that we don't know that things are wrong, the problem is that we don't understand the causal pathways.
The practice of limiting or denying tests, and writing this up as though its normal, leads to misdiagnoses and failed diagnoses. Its a justifiable cost saving measure, not a justifiable medical measure, but I suspect in time it becomes the medical norm.
This is an own goal for psychosomatic medicine here. People imagine things, then some can't tell the difference in memory from imagined things and the real event. This is not new. It however makes questionnaires to evaluate outcomes on psychologically indoctrinated patients a highly dubious instrument.
Don't think of an elephant. Now what did you think of? This doesn't always work on us because our brains read blah blah blah blah blah, but most people think of an elephant, or at least its often claimed.
If you ask people to think of something, then of course they are more sensitive to issues on this, temporarily. The argument they get around to is this can become permanent. Now extreme traumas might do this, but casual thoughts? Even thoughts with emotional overtones?
At least we agree on that point.
Their finding suggests things based upon other suggested findings, based upon yet other suggested findings.
Once they start thinking about MUS and don't realise many if not most patients with MUSes have measurable physiological abnormalities, it becomes difficult to consider the conclusion credible.
It doesn't matter if you are talking about current MUSes like fibromyalgia or ME, or obsolete ones like epilepsy (formerly hysteria), MS or diabetes, or even rheumatoid arthritis.
Medically Unexplained Symptoms = psychosomatic
Unidentified Flying Objects = flying saucers
Like with flying saucers there is a basis for believing that flying saucers might exist, but not that its proven they exist. Its the same with psychosomatic medicine. Such things might exist, but they remain medically unexplained ... oops.
Its much better for doctors and researchers to say they don't know than to rely on dubious and unproven hypotheses and hope the patient doesn't see through them.
Maybe one day a saucer will land and communicate with us, and maybe one day a psychosomatic illness will be proven, but that day has not verifiably happened yet.
If you look at this its all maybes, based on other maybes, based on yet more maybes. Its a chain of unlikely reason. We have heard of the Emperor's new clothes, some are familiar with vaporware, but what do you call a logical chain made of nothing but metaphorical tissue?
I will leave you with a final thought:
On a Metaphorical Roll
Blog entry posted by alex3619, Dec 18, 2013.
About the Author
I am a long term ME patient with many complications. While I have pushed research advocacy since 1993, I become political around 2009. My current project is a book called "Embracing Uncertainty". Uncertainty in medical science seems anathema to too many doctors. "I do not know" is something more doctors should be honest about.