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Charlotte Clark + PDW: The prospective association between childhood cognitive ability and somatic s

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by Esther12, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Related to, and following on from, a 2009 Chalder study that was discussed here: http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...rental-expectations-of-their-childs-iq.22629/

    The prospective association between childhood cognitive ability and somatic symptoms and syndromes in adulthood: the 1958 British birth cohort
    [​IMG]
    1. Eva M Kingma1,
    2. Judith G M Rosmalen1,
    3. Peter D White2,
    4. Stephen A Stansfeld2,
    5. Charlotte Clark2

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24022814
    So they thought less bright children would be more likely to end up with CFS, and found:

    I wonder if they'd consider a similarly sized finding to be just chance if it had supported their hypothesis? I'm not sure I remember having ever read a paper where a significant finding in support of the researchers hypothesis was suggested to be a matter of chance.

    Their summary of the paper:

    Paper was generally tedious, trying to avoid saying 'we don't know what we're talking about, but have lumped together loads of patients under pointless labels to help us sound like experts... here are some weak associations that we can spin a story from'.

    'The aetiology of... oh, it's all a load of bollocks. Who do we think we're kidding?'
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
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  2. Bob

    Bob

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    Most unlikely!
    But I'm glad that they found no association either way.
    What did they possibly hope to achieve by finding an association?

    This study concerns me for many reasons, but the main reason is that is makes me think of eugenics.

    Their hypothesis could easily be interpreted that children with delayed academic development should be defined as having low IQ and that children with low IQ develop 'functional' (i.e. psychosomatic) illness because they have low IQ.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  3. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Sorry Bob. Edited in above.
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  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I'd have thought that they'd see it as evidence that the psychosocial strain of low IQ contributes to the development of WTFSS. I doubt that this would then be seen as good reason to increase the financial resources available to people struggling to compete in a modern labour market, but rather, they could be managed into being more 'resilient'.

    Actually - I did a rubbish job with my first post. I was in the middle of three things while writing it, and kept getting distracted, and in the end just decided to post what I'd done (missing out the title, and another finding that could be of interest).

    They also found no evidence that high parental expectations led to WTFSS.

    This is all the sort of thing where, even if weak associations were found, it wouldn't be that interesting. Having a lower IQ or higher parental expectations probably can make life more difficult, and it would be unsurprising if this led to some increase in subjective complaints. Also though, maybe parents with higher expectations are more likely to be able to offer financial support that makes life less difficult? Maybe those with higher IQs who suffer from disabling fatigue are more likely to end up with a diagnosis of CFS? It seems very unlikely that this sort of research could lead to an interesting finding at the moment, and indeed, they seem happy to put their own finding to one side when it conflicts with their hypothesis.
    biophile likes this.
  5. Bob

    Bob

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    You did a magnificent job, Esther. Especially if you were multi-tasking!
    Thanks for posting it.

    lol

    Exactly!
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  6. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    there goes the "CFS is caused by thinkin' she's as smart as certain hotshot psychologists when clearly she's not" hypothesis.

    It seems she's smarter, after all.
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  7. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    How in the world do you define parental expectations?

    Great job multitasking!!:thumbsup:


    Thanks for the well written post as well as my best laugh of the day.:)
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  8. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    1) People with Functional Somatic Symptoms did worse in school as children.
    2 )People with CFS did better in school as children.

    Wouldn't this imply that CFS is not a functional disorder? Of course, the BPS morons will never let that thought cross their minds.
    Esther12, biophile and MeSci like this.
  9. biophile

    biophile Places I'd rather be.

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    wtFSS should be an official (B)DSM-5 designation!
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  10. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Positively Freudian in design :vomit: :bang-head:

    Thanks Esther. You win the 'perseverance in the face of crap' award this week :)

    I wonder if we shouldn't have a policy change for 2014. No more publishing on this forum of psychological crap. Perhaps a sub-forum or a ban on Phoenix completely? Rhetorical. Don't answer. No wish to take the thread off piste :ill:
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  11. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    That was another thing that bugged me about this paper that I forgot to note.



    Their summary:
    So CFS = FSD = cluster of FSS

    But (it is claimed) lower cognitive ability in childhood precedes the development of FSS, and they found an association between higher cognitive ability and self-reported CFS. Shouldn't they have spent a bit of time addressing that?

    I've read general criticism of epidemiology as a field: that it tends to be used to justify the prejudices of the researchers involved, that loads of papers just hype findings found after looking at loads of variables, and that there are so many things going on in people's lives that are unaccounted for that most reported findings are misleading. On the Virology podcast that used to get posted here, they were pretty critical of epidemiology a few times too. I've not done much reading on this, but it does seem like this sort of work is very difficult to do well, and very easy to do poorly. It does seem like a lot of poor CFS work gets done in this area.

    re this paper: They do include quite a lot of provisos in the text... not nearly enough imo.

    eg [edit: I wouldn't assume that their references really show what they claims to. The worthless Chlader paper mentioned about was cited uncritically too]:

    Also, they were just checking numbers of symptoms, and assuming that lots of symptoms were probably FSS:

    (Thanks for the kind words... but I really should have focussed a bit more when doing my first post. Tbh, not that interesting a paper, so I kept getting drawn into other things).
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
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  12. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    Or, lower childhood cognitive ability is from early expression of whatever disease. Or, lower childhood cognitive ability (as measured) is related to poverty (e.g. parent doesn't have time to read to the child; nutrition is lacking; etc.) and poverty is also associated to disease (and not just the ones they can't readily identify so call "functional" but also recognizable ones which are not mistaken for functional). But I bet they didn't consider those ideas.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
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  13. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member

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    I missed this discussion before.

    But basically, the finding of higher (base) cognitive ability of children both replicates a prior study (the one investigating parental expectations) and suggests significant biases in the participation of individuals across different types of studies.

    Some people like to claim that prospective studies like this are not subject to such biases, but unless you have very high participation rates, biases inevitably occur.
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  14. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Ta SL. I hadn't thought of linking it to that Chalder study.
  15. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I didn't think it was worth starting new threads for these abstracts, but also thought that they may be of interest, and are vaguely related to this thread:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24418471

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22836483

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22971428
  16. Bob

    Bob

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    After the results from those studies you think the authors would pack up their desperate hypotheses and go home.

    For adults, the only predictor for having CFS/FSS is having high intelligence.
    Hmm.. Perhaps that's because people with CFS have to diagnose themselves, otherwise they often don't get a diagnosis, so they have to have a degree of academic curiosity? Or because only a particular type of (informed and demanding) patient ends up being noticed by the medical profession and receiving secondary care?

    For adolescents two of the predictors are either feeling ill or parents reporting the patient as being ill. Hmm.. So a predictor of illness is 'feeling ill'? Wow, way out. Some cutting edge science going on here! Oh, and another predictor is being a girl. In other words more females have CFS than males. Wow, what a finding. This is mind blowing stuff!

    :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
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  17. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I haven't read the full papers, but it wouldn't surprise me if this were no less ridiculous than it sounds.

    A lot of epidemiology seems pretty poorly thought through to me.
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  18. Bob

    Bob

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    BTW, thanks for posting, @Esther12.

    They're actually quite helpful, in a way, because they debunk their own theories and demonstrate that neuroticism, anxiety, parental overprotection, school absenteeism, and diversity of symptoms are not predictors of CFS.

    The third paper is even more ridiculous than the other two (which is quite a feat).

    (I haven't read the full papers either, and don't intend to.)
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  19. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    There seem to be loads of these sorts of studies with conflicting and minor findings. I probably would be worth us trying to keep track of them a bit better, so we could cite conflicting ones when a particular claim is being presented as evidence based (anyone want to volunteer for a database?)... the whole area seems weak to me.

    Unless there are really strong prospective findings then they often look to be constructing stories out of confounds and coincidence.
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  20. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Just stumbled on this on the funding for this paper - £170,00.

    http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/3F6FA5EC-12F1-47AE-946C-ECA271FFD78C#tabOutcomes

    Also, £300,000 for this piece of research from Charlotte Clark and Esther Crawley. I hope this is not the sort of work on 'prevention' that @Action for M.E. is involved in:

    http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/92F6B9E6-B13E-4BC5-AD74-F2245F8B5D54
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