Lipkin's Monster ME/CFS Study: Microbes, Immunity & Big Data
The Microbe Discovery Project outlines an ambitious new study by top researchers that has collected patient samples, but needs desperately funds to complete the work.
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How Did I Miss This One?

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by ixchelkali, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    I had missed this 2009 study until I read the following reference to it in an article in yesterdays New York Times entitled Fidos No Doctor. Neither Is Whiskers,:
    Heres the abstract of the original study, another sterling example of the kind of high-quality research into ME/CFS coming out of the UK:

    Associations between pet ownership and self-reported health status in people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

    J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Apr;15(4):407-13

    Wells DL.

    School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. d.wells@qub.ac.uk

    Abstract
    OBJECTIVE: This study explored the association between pet ownership and self-reported health in people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

    METHODS: One hundred and ninety-three (193) people with medically diagnosed CFS completed a postal survey designed to collect information on illness severity, physical and psychologic health, and pet ownership practices.

    RESULTS: Most of the participants were female (72.0%), over 45 years of age (57.1%) and married (41.1%) with no children (63.1%). Pets were owned by 58.3% of the sample, with dogs and cats being the most commonly kept types of companion animal. The general health of the participants was discovered to be poor, as assessed by scores on the Chalder Fatigue Questionnaire (CFQ), General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), and Short-Form-36 (SF-36) health survey. Pet ownership was not significantly associated with scores on the CFQ, GHQ-12, or SF-36 scales, although pet owners considered their animals to offer them a range of health benefits, notably those associated with mental well-being.

    CONCLUSIONS: Overall, findings suggest no statistically significant association between pet ownership and self-reported health in people with CFS. Nonetheless, people suffering from this condition believe that their pets have the potential to enhance quality of life. Although animals should not be regarded as a panacea for people with long-term conditions such as CFS, they may, nonetheless, serve a valuable, and currently underutilized, role in promoting well-being, whether in their own right, or in conjunction with more traditional forms of therapy.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19388863
     
  2. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    I think the results are perhaps to be expected. I haven't read the full article because it is published in an obscure journal to which I don't have access.

    I don't like the NYT bias though
    . I'm not abnormally stressed, worried or unhappy. Does that mean I don't have CFS? :rolleyes:
     
  3. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    Yeah, and I don't believe that interacting with my furry friend "relieves my symptoms," either, though I enjoy having her around. It does kinda sound like the author of the NYT op-ed piece thinks CFS patients are nut jobs.
     
  4. Esther12

    Esther12

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    I think the NYT piece was sceptical of pet owner's claims about the benefits that their pets bring them, rather than specificaly of CFS patients.

    Given the way CFS is often treated, it's fair enough to be a bit touchy, but to me the NYT piece seemed fine.

    To me it looks like the measures used (tired, stressed, unhappy) came from the paper, and weren't meant to be definitive of CFS.
     
  5. LaurieM

    LaurieM

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    I agree with Ester; the NYT article only uses the CFS study as one of many examples of whether pets make you feel healthier. In fact I would say the NYT article is more positive than that, because it uses CFS as an example of a physical illness:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/04/opinion/04herzog.html
     
  6. lancelot

    lancelot Senior Member

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    i miss my big baby, Rotti, so much!:hug:
     
  7. oceanblue

    oceanblue Guest

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    From a boring scientific perspective the study actually tells us nothing about the impact of pets on CFS since it isn't a prospective study ie looking at the effect of a non-pet owner getting a pet, or vice versa. Maybe the pet owners were all unhappier than other people til they got their pets? You can't tell. In the jargon it's a cross-sectional study rather than a prospective one, which doesn't really matter in this trivial study, but is important in other CFS studies.

    Actually, there was a study in the UK some time ago looking at the effect of getting a pet on healthy people (nb a prospective study). Apparently getting a pet made substantial differnces to general stress-levels, and most of the people in the control group (no pets) decided to get themselves a pet afterwards for the health benefits. But that's just from a newspaper report...
     
  8. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    But beneficial effects may not extend to ME/CFS. There's a bit of effort in minding an animal. I know of some people with ME/CFS who bring their dogs out for walks. I think dogs may be good for getting people who could benefit from exercise out for walks but I think at least some of the time a lot of people with ME/CFS will go for walks, or walk too far, because of having a dog when they might not have without them. I am friendly with a woman who sometimes gets into a bit of a panic bringing her cats to the vet, etc - something which might not take as much out of a healthy person. Sometimes the cat has woken her up early which again might affect somebody with ME/CFS more.

    I don't have the initial study so can't comment on it.
     
  9. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

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    Big whoopee.......................yeah, right.

    Really, this is not new news. There are several reports about healthy people and chronically ill people benefitting health-wise from being around pets; it can range from dogs that can sense when their owners are on the verge of hypoglycemia or seizures (a fascinating area) to people losing weight/ getting exericse due to their pets to the "general mental health" talked about here.

    Pet therapy, where dogs/cats/etc. are introduced to nursing homes, rehab facilities, kids with disabilities, etc. is common here in the US. While I'm not sure of the benefits, the people who aren't afraid of animals (the ones who are don't get exposed to the animals) do seem happier when the animals are around and I don't see a lot of downsides, although there was at least one inconclusive paper about whether pets could introduce new bacteria, etc. to these places.

    This also reminds me of the study where elderly folks in Japan who lived alone felt happier than the control group when they were given a Sony Aibo -- an electronic dog.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIBO

    I'd like an AIBO -- taking care of a real pet takes too much energy -- but I don't think it'll help me with my CFS.

    [And please don't swim with dolphins. Watch the Oscar-winning documentary 'The Cove'.]
     
  10. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    What bugs me is that somehow that study on pets & people with (presumed) CFS got funded. It seems easy to get funding for any kind of mind/body study on ME/CFS, but darned difficult to get funding for biomedical studies. Supposedly because the studies submitted aren't of high enough caliber. Yeah, right. And even when the studies get done, they have trouble getting them published. But trivia like this gets published, no problem.
     
  11. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    I agree in general (from what I've seen in the UK anyway). The Medical Research Council (like the NIH in terms of giving out grants) hasn't approved any biomedical research grants; all the grants it has approved have been headed by biopsychosocial psychiatrists and psychologists (I know there are some psychiatrists and psychologists who are not "bad" but all the ones that have been approved are from those of the CBT/GET school of thought).

    However, this study was probably a cheap study. I haven't seen the paper but I imagine it wouldn't have required major funding - maybe just funding from within the university.

    A lot of people who follow things in the UK talk about a desire for "biomedical research". That's partly because there has been such a glut of psychological/psychiatric research that can often be done very cheaply - just distribute questionnaires and other paper research.

    Funding mechanisms may be different in the US where researchers may be more expected to bring in outside funding? I'm no expert on this.

    Anyway, it's one of the things that drives me to donate and fundraise for (biomedical) research. Otherwise, it seems some would be happy to do cheap questionnaire research for eternity.

    [ETA: I think some paper research, such as most of the research Lenny Jason does, is useful. But it needs to be in the right "ratio" to biomedical research and done by sympathetic people. Psychological/psychiatric research and how it is interpreted/spun can get detached from reality/the truth.]
     
  12. Wildcat

    Wildcat

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    'Associations between pet ownership and self-reported health status in people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.'


    Pets/animals made no difference at all to my health status in the many years of very severe ME. I had always been a 'cat person' and was not keen on dogs - they were too woofly, snuffly and not very suble in my view - but in my very severe worst years of ME, when friends visited with dogs, and I was slumped and barely concious - my goodness, those dogs snuggled up to me and did a kind of doggie 'purring' - it seemed to be a kind of very deep 'creature thing' and very instinctive and comforting - now, as a result I really like dogs - but it didn't make the slightest difference to how sick I was. I would love to have a cat or dog now but remain too sick to look after them - and as for walking a dog, that is out of the question.

    What I would like is sufficient home care to enable me to have a pet and look after it properly, as I do not have enough energy, or the stamina to keep a pet safe, fed, and take it to the vet when needed.

    So, in all, aminals are a great comfort and in my view a geat life enhancer, if one can care for them properly - but being so sick, doing research on such is a waste of money, and could be concluded by common sense.
     
  13. Esther12

    Esther12

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    I get the impression that a lot of this sort of stuff is just people with teaching jobs at uni coming up with something to spend their speare time on. Getting articles published is seen as valuable in itself, regardless as to whether the work moves foreward our understanding of life.
     
  14. Wildcat

    Wildcat

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    .
    There appears to be research funding available for anything in relation to 'CFS', but not for relevent biomedical research on propery defined ME patient cohorts.
     
  15. The mind boggles, don't it?!
    "And, in today's other news from the School of the Patently Bloody Obvious & Incredibly Stupid: jumping up and down on space hoppers doesn't relieve the symptoms of heamorhoid sufferers! Piles a-go-go!" :D

    lol, you gotta laugh in the end, because yes, that IS how a lot of the "official" research has been "allowed to go" in the UK.
    One last year when they used 3D visuals etc to compare ME/CFS vs ordinary folks, was another STARTLING bit of advanced rational science, whoopee do!
    "Hey Bob, we've got 17 million people slowly wasting away from the dreaded Venusian D**k Rot! Why not test to see how good they are at playing DOOM, eh? Save us all the hard work of curing them and we can have a gib-fest at the same time!" :rolleyes:

    All proof, that the lunatics are truly running the asylum, folks! :D

    And on more useful stuff...(*)
    I LUV ME PUPPY!!!
    *gets mad licks from his dog* :)
    this is my mutt, she's far too active for somebody wth ME/CFS, really, but since I'm going nowhere I cna sit on me bum and play with her when able and she's sooooooooooooooo affectionate and daft, and seemingly made of rubber, hehe.
    http://www.silverblades-suitcase.com/photos2010/poppy_bed.jpg


    (*) not that the thread/article aren't interesting insight into how the minds of our healers work, though....scary, eh? :eek:
     

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