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Cognitive deficits in CFS vs major depression and healthy controls

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by Dolphin, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    New Belgian study

  2. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Suggestibility bit (only annoying bit)

    There is basically only one bad bit (IMO) in this paper:
    (I'm not sure why they use the second tendency - table shows its statistically significant i.e. MDD are more suggestible than patients with CFS.

    (from Discussion)
    Background:
    So the CFS group had the lowest scores i.e. were the least suggestible
    This could be relevant to the point they make.
    There could be a correlation in the CFS group but still all or nearly all CFS wouldn't qualify as being suggestible as they were starting from a "low base" (SD does suggest there is a little bit of a spread in the CFS group).
    There is no threshold given to define what is suggestible. So there may be a correlation but it may be of no clinical relevance.
    One explanation might be that being reminded that they were tired alerted them (people who had the illness longer) more that they needed to "ease back the throttle a little" - the more time one has the illness, the more time one has had to learn this/the more times it has been re-inforced from experience not to push one's body to its limits if one is feeling tired, the way a healthy person can without ill-effect.

    I am not sure why there might be this correlation with length of illness.
    They did also find the following:
  3. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Still at it - the Psychos - by the looks of it - chasing their tails.
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting your thoughts on this.

    I've not looked atthe paper, but is it possible that suggestability is related to things like 'a sense of self-worth'/insecurity/etc?

    Living with a chronic illness can knock people's self-confidence, and I expect that this would affect what I understand 'suggestability' to be (although I find these terms often mean different things in an academic context than in every day speech).
  5. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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    Much as I like the finding, I think the whole 'suggestibility' thing is chasing shadows. Measuring a test in two parts and seeing if performance in the second part is worse after suggesting to the patient they might be fatigued could mean something if they had used a control of patients where no suggestion was made. But they didn't do this.

    Given the large number of dependent variables they used (24) they should have made some adjustment for repeated measures and they don't appear to have done - the significance threshold should have been higher than 95% and so things like the correlation with illness length (which was yet another comparison) probably wasn't really significant. Looks more like data trawling to me.
  6. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member

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    Right. Otherwise, it is probably just reversion to the mean, given the lower level of suggestibility to start with.
  7. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Don't think reversion (regression) to the mean applies in this case. This was a correlation with length of illness rather than a two stage test where the second test was closer to the mean than the former.
  8. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Could be. Just to clarify, I wasn't particular excited by the CFS group having the lowest suggestibility overall, just using it in one possible "defence" from the point they were making.
  9. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member

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    I'm thinking of it in a different way, as if the resuts from those with longer illness lengths wasn't actually due to the illness length, but rather an artifact of repeating the test. The slope itself might be just a coincidence.

    You are right, that it is hard to tell unless a repeat test is done.
  10. laura

    laura Senior Member

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    Thanks for sharing, Dolphin! Very interesting study.
    I think even more than the fatigue, the cognitive symptoms are the hardest for me.

    Still being compared to people with depression, though, makes me want to scream. Are we STILL at square one, trying to prove CFS is not a mental illness?! And that our symptoms are not psychosomatic ("suggestibility")?! Arg.

    I want more studies on treatments for the cog. symptoms.

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