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Chalder and colleagues: Emotional arousal in CFS

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by Woolie, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Emotional Suppression in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Experimental Study
    Katharine A. Rimes, Joanna Ashcroft, Lauren Bryan, and Trudie Chalder
    In Health Psychology, 2016, Vol. 35, No. 9, 979–986

     
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  2. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    Though presumably telling everyone not to 'enable their delusions' has no impact on that at all. You've got to hand it to Trudie, she's all heart.
     
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  3. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    i can believe that she's got at least this part right. Over the years Ive had much practice at having to hide my distress over my situations eg if you go into a doctors and start crying over your situation no matter how bad it is, they will just thinking automatically that you have depression. You often have to suppress emotions to be taken seriously or listened too.

    People who do not understand the condition you are experiencing, so often when talking to them you need to try to "control" yourself emotionally while sharing or they will just think you are being over the top with things.

    Some people who have got ME/CFS have been called drama queens, attention seekers or so many other things, is it no wonder they have learnt to hide their emotional distress to a degree

    How does Trudie Chalder constantly get funding to continue on with all these crappy studies where others who need the funding for ME/CFS research for things which may really benefit us cant get funding?
     
  4. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Some quick thoughts:
    This bit is actually quite interesting, and fits with what many of us experience (including me). Of course, the finding will most likely be misused and misintepreted as support for the idea that CFS is "stress related".
    Don't read a lot into this. The effect was only just significant, p = .041. And they needed loads of patients to even get this marginal effect (80 in each group).

    Also, the CFS and control groups differed in various ways which could affect this quite a bit (e.g., age, ethnicity).
    Well, you know, not rocket science, that one.
    This effect was pretty reliable, but again the differences in the composition of the CFS and control groups could also be a factor here. Ethnicity in particular might be key here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
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  5. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Oh @Woolie, you tease! You knew I was just pouring my early morning coffee while you were posting this!

    So now we are emotionally suppressed little flowers whose emotional abnormalities prevent us accessing support for our distress. Boo hoo! I think I will opt for retaining the White-Chalder militant activist label.

    Dear Trudie .........she is so endearing. Don't you just love her?
     
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  6. user9876

    user9876 Senior Member

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    Given the PACE results and the way they have been twisted I don't think any paper with Chalder's name on it should be considered trustworthy.
     
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  7. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    I keep getting the feeling they were hoping to find something quite different, but I cant quite figure what it was. Perhaps exaggerated emotional expression in the CFS group, as we "act out" to garner sympathy and attention?

    Edit: I see you were thinking that, @taniaaust1!
     
  8. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Yes, I am extra vigilant because of the names, but I do feel you have to judge each research piece on its own merits.
     
  9. user9876

    user9876 Senior Member

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    There is also a question of whether it is worth the energy to judge a paper.

    I was thinking about peer review and the choice of journal and came to the conclusion that it should be used as a signal not to trust a paper but whether it is worth spending the time reading it. When reading anything of real interest you as the reader need to judge the quality of the work, you can't rely on the peer review because its often someone who spends a similar time reading the paper, expressing their bias on the subject and trying to get their own work referenced.

    But where people such as White, Chalder and Sharpe have been known to have spun data and cherry picked results (and even persuaded trial committees to allow them to do that) it is not just a case of judging but as a reader you need to also look at the original protocol (if published) and see what has changed. For the outcomes they talk about this amount of time is simply not worth the energy.

    But then maybe I am obsessive.
     
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  10. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Totally agree there. You can't go just by the outlet and the peer review. Pretty loose standards in psychological medicine in general.

    And because I read the paper, it means you guys don't have to! ;) (Unless of course you want to!)
     
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  11. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Come to think of it... 160 participants to look at this, when there are so many other more important questions to address about CFS. Exercise physiologists who are trying to study effects of exertion on CFS could only dream of such a sample.

    What a waste of time and resources.
     
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  12. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    I have to admit I laughed out loud when I saw the title of this one. Is that wrong?

    I know it's deadly serious and all that, but really, how can you not laugh? It's like watching a meeting of the Flat Earth Society. FFS, Prof. Chalder, enough already.

    I very much look forward to the time when we can stop posting threads about these twerps because they've become so utterly irrelevant.
     
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  13. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    Perhaps you have problems with emotional arousal. I've heard it's common in our condition.
     
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  14. trishrhymes

    trishrhymes Senior Member

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    I'd say this has all the hallmarks of a study dreamed up for a PhD student to do, rather than for any medically valid reason. Nice easy experiment, lots of simple things to measure, lots of vaguely related studies to summarise in the introduction to show you've done your reading research, and a handy supply of dupes in the queue at a couple of psych. based CFS clinics waiting for 'treatment' for their fatigue.

    In skimming through the paper, here are a few serious flaws:

    1. Ethically questionable:
    'Study procedure was approved by a local National Health Service Research Ethics Committee (ref. 09/H0803/80) and participants provided prior informed consent.'

    Then the procedure is described, then:

    'All participants were fully debriefed and given the opportunity to discuss their reactions. Any remaining distress was reduced through relaxation and positive imagery for those who wanted this. It was used for one participant. None had guessed the purpose of the experiment.'

    Huh??? So it's fine to take worried sick people and mess with their heads and say they've given informed consent when you haven't told them the purpose?

    2. Choice of 'emotional stimulus:

    'Materials and Measures Emotion induction. A 9-min clip from a British Broadcasting Corporation documentary called “Britain’s Homecare Scandal,” originally shown in 2003 as part of the “Panorama” series, was used to elicit an emotional response. It shows scenes of reduced quality of care given to older adults by homecare services. The film clip was piloted on 15 individuals (seven CFS participants and eight healthy control participants). It produced an increase in ratings of emotional distress including anger, sadness, and disgust. This complex emotional response was considered to have appropriate ecological validity.'

    Huh???? So you're comparing emotional reactions and suppression of emotions in healthy and sick people and you choose a stimulus that is likely to have much higher emotional resonance with the sick people who may already have encountered difficulties with care services, or be concerned about their care needs in future. How is that a valid comparison.

    3. Suppression of emotions is found to be higher in CFS patients.

    Huh??? Well of course it is, they've been referred to a psych. based service for an illness they experience as a physical illness. Of course they're going to hide their emotions so as not to be further misdiagnosed. And they don't know the purpose of the experiment...

    4. Age difference - the average age of the CFS group was 10 years older than the control group. This alone could account for differences in emotion suppression.

    5. The conclusion - 'This is the first evidence from an experimental study of greater emotional suppression in individuals with CFS compared to healthy controls, from both self-report and observer ratings. Preexisting beliefs about the unacceptability of experiencing and expressing negative emotions may be one contributory factor to emotional suppression. The CFS group, and participants randomized to the suppression condition, had higher autonomic arousal in an emotionally distressing task. Higher levels of autonomic arousal were associated with greater increases in posttask fatigue for the CFS participants. Further research is needed into the possibility that increased autonomic arousal, perhaps as a result of greater distress and emotional suppression, contributes to fatigue in people with CFS.'

    Huh??? So you give them a task that is likely to have more emotional impact on sick people, then say it's the sickness that causes them to be more emotionally aroused, not the task? For me this totally invalidates an already shaky study.

    And you conclude by implying that our fatigue is caused by our emotions. OK, I know it doesn't say that exactly, but it's certainly implied.

    :aghhh::aghhh::aghhh::aghhh::aghhh::aghhh::aghhh::aghhh::aghhh:
     
  15. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    Junk science.

    As already mentioned, showing a film related to the neglect of the elderly is likely to produce more response in a patient group with chronic illness and disability. They already failed at this step, so nothing they did afterwards has any importance as it it impossible to distinguish bias arising from flawed methods from an illness-specific effect.

    That there is no discussion on alternative explanations for autonomic arousal (specifically biological explanations) already tells you the authors are not interested in the truth. They just want to promote their paradigm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
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  16. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    You're right. It's there, even if it's not explicit. All of this guff revolves around a conviction, a certainty, that ME (cfs) must be caused by something going on in our heads. Another day, another junk study borne of the same groundless belief. I'm tired of looking at this stuff, and if it weren't that the purveyors of it had acquired so much influence, mostly by churning out a mountain of similar pap, I'd ignore every last bit of it.
     
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  17. trishrhymes

    trishrhymes Senior Member

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    I wonder whether they would get ethical approval to do the same study on, say, MS patients. And would they be allowed to get away with using a film about poor home care services as the emotional stimulus. And then to get away with suggesting it was something inherent in MS that caused them to react differently to this stimulus than healthy people.

    Sorry, I won't go on any more. This is a waste of your time and mine. If I'm going to go on about it, it should be to Chalder et al, not my fellow sufferers, and I've used up all my letter writing 'bashing my head against a brick wall' energy.

    Back to Harry Potter. He makes more sense.
     
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  18. Ysabelle-S

    Ysabelle-S Highly Vexatious

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    Excellent summation. Money was wasted on this rubbish too. Money better spent on biomedical research. They might as well be living in a remote station in Antarctica beyond the reach of biomedical research news for all the attention they pay.
     
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  19. Gijs

    Gijs Senior Member

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    What she finds is autonomic dysfunction, well known in ME/CFS. Low emotional expression don't give overactive sympathetic nervous system, it is the other way around. And yes, emotional expression will give the same abnormal reaction of the ANS as when you exercise. I would like to put White and Chalder e.a. in a MRI and see if their brains are aroused by false interpretation believes or other mental disorders.
     
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  20. Bob

    Bob

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    The abstract goes against the (false) narrative of hysterical and needy patients, or equating a CFS diagnosis with a diagnosis of hysteria.
     
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