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Report in Mail on new suicide and ME? study by King's College

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Countrygirl, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Here is an online article for 9th Feb reporting on a study from Wessley's lair;

    Some of the comments are an excellent remedy for low blood pressure.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2016
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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  3. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    What specifically are you saying is wrong with this study that you think invalidates its results?
     
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I'm not saying that the results are invalid, I'm saying that it looked at such a small sample that it was unlikely to be able to detect any of the increased risks of death which we do occasionally see anecdotally reported on here (eg: increased risk of rare forms of cancer). That people with a health problem, especially one as stigmatised and disabling as CFS, are more likely to kill themselves than population norms seems pretty uninteresting too.
     
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  5. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Obviously larger patient sample would have been better, but within its limitations, to me this latest study seems valid enough for quantifying the suicide prevalence.

    It also closely concurs with a previous US study on ME/CFS suicide prevalence, which found the suicide rate was 8 times the national average.



    Well I found it interesting.
     
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  6. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl But I Look So Good.

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    @Countrygirl all they have to do is look at the memorial thread to know that's true
     
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  7. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Did the study look at the cause of death in different age groups? The anecdotal evidence is that people with ME die on average about 25 years earlier than normal usually from cardiovascular disease and cancer, with the rare Mantle Cell Lymphoma being over-represented. It is strange that they draw the conclusion that people with ME are no more likely to die of cancer than any other group.I would be curious to know if they used the 50-65 age group in long-term ME patients as I wonder if the death rate is above average with heart disease and cancer.
     
  8. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    IIRC that "25 years" figure was based on a study of people who died early (or a study whose methodology would mean that that's the population that was looked at). There's a lot of misunderstanding about its interpretation and it doesn't suggest that PWME die 25 years earlier, on average.
     
  9. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    Suicide in the case of chronic biomedical illness probably doesn't have much to do with "emotional and mental well-being", but rather with the complete neglect of symptomatic treatment or physical support.
     
  10. skipskip30

    skipskip30 Senior Member

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    So people suffering from a terrible life destroying illness are more prone to committing suicide? who would have thought it! Though this probably more the level of science kings college should stick to, the obvious and simple kind.
     
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  11. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    The study did a bit more that just find ME/CFS patients were "more" prone to committing suicide. They quantified the suicide rate (as being 6.85 times higher than normal). That then makes it possible to compare to other diseases, like multiple sclerosis, where one study found the suicide rate is 2 times higher than normal, or schizophrenia, where the suicide rate is around 60 times higher than normal. 1

    Though I agree that I'd prefer to see the King's College psychologists or psychiatrists focus on epidemiological studies like these, rather than proposing implausible psychological etiologies of ME/CFS.



    I have never heard any such anecdotal evidence. I have heard people say things like this before, but have not seen the evidence.

    Though I have seen studies like this one of elderly ME/CFS patients (66 to 99 years old) which found no increased incidence of cancer in ME/CFS (in fact a slightly reduced rate of cancer), apart from a slightly increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
     
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  12. skipskip30

    skipskip30 Senior Member

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    Having seen the kind of science kings college have done in the past im afraid i have very little confidence in their results for any accurate comparison.
     
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  13. manna

    manna Senior Member

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    from: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=14948

    Not sure where they get this data from. Cancer and suicide is what I've heard of most in connection to ME/CFS and MCS. That's just from years of forumming. Not sure if the above conclusion is from data or someone's many years personal experience of dealing with folk with the illness. This has been posted previously on PR from search results. Either or, it seems about right to me. The suicide stat is pertinent but I can't see it being the whole picture. I'm sure someone posted something on this on the FF forum but it's glitching with the searches at the mo. 25 years is what I recall too but am unsure of the validity
     
  14. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    As they said in their paper, two fewer suicides and there would have been no significant increase in risk. I don't think that we can have too much confidence that a suicide rate 6.85 times higher than normal would hold up in a larger study. They give a 95% confidence interval of 2·22–15·98.
     
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  15. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    @Esther12
    I am sure you know that science often works like that: smaller scale studies come first, finding something statistically significant, and then wait for larger studies to replicate or refute the findings.

    This study is nearly twice the size of the original US study, which looked at 1201 ME/CFS patients over a period of up to 14 years, and found a suicide rate of 8 times higher.

    If a statistician were to pool the data from these two studies, it would increase the confidence in the results.
     
  16. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    That's not what the study found:
    i.e. there was not statistically significant increase in suicide among those who satisfied CFS criteria
     
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  17. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    You are right, I must have misread that US study. I guess I should read things more carefully.

    So in fact they found an eightfold increase in suicides in the chronically fatigued, but no increase in suicides in CFS patients.
     
  18. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Well, suicide rates were 3.6 times higher, but the difference was not statistically significant.
     
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  19. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    OK, so I misread the paper again! Actually my ADHD is really bad today, I can barely read anything.
     
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  20. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    A finding similar to this was made in Australia, though I think unpublished in a medical journal. It was found that one in ten CFS patients had attempted suicide, and this was only the patients that admitted to it. There is no surety it was not higher. This figure jumped to one in six for long term patients. I have no further details aside from the source which was I think from the Victorian ME/CFS society at the time, which I think now calls itself the national society.

    However given the high prevalence of misdiagnosis we cannot be sure that many of these patients did not have depression, or were not on medications with risk of suicide. There are probably many paths leading to suicide, from despair, social ostracizing/distrust/hate, inadequate support measures , inappropriate medication, inept medical care and so on. Suicide incidence is useful data, but only as ground to run a much better study.

    From Lenny Jason's study there is indication that suicide in CFS makes major depression look like a minor issue. There are issues here about generalization and reporting standards though. Its very murky.

    Once again we find reason to fund and run a very large very carefully conducted longitudinal or epidemiological study.
     

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