The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Childhood Physical Abuse Linked To Arthritis, Study Finds

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by *GG*, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH
    ScienceDaily (Nov. 3, 2009) Adults who had experienced physical abuse as children have 56 per cent higher odds of osteoarthritis compared to those who have not been abused, according to a new study by University of Toronto researchers.

    University of Toronto researchers investigated the relationship between self-reported childhood physical abuse and a diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA). After analyzing representative data from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey, the researchers determined a significant association between childhood physical abuse and osteoarthritis in adulthood.

    The study is published in the November issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research.
    Osteoarthritis is an often debilitating chronic condition that affects millions of adults. "We found that 10.2 per cent of those with osteoarthritis reported they had been physically abused as children in comparison to 6.5 per cent of those without osteoarthritis," says lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson of U of T's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Department of Family and Community Medicine. "This study provides further support for the need to investigate the possible role that childhood abuse plays in the development of chronic illness."

    Co-author Sarah Brennenstuhl, a doctoral student at the University of Toronto, stated that, "We were surprised that the significant association between childhood physical abuse and osteoarthritis persisted even after controlling for major potentially confounding factors such as obesity, physical activity levels as well as age, gender, income and race."

    According to Fuller-Thomson, one important avenue for future research is to investigate the pathways through which arthritis may develop as a consequence of childhood physical abuse.


    Adapted from materials provided by University of Toronto, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
  2. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH
    Seems like any disease can be linked to Physical Abuse!!

    My lord!:eek:
  3. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

    LOL !!!

    Everybody, quick to the psych!

    Actually... could you please define childhood abuse? If I got the strap once or twice, does that count? Can I please please enter that cohort??? Sheesh people at the university, why don't you research something useful?
  4. Min

    Min Guest

    Isn't it strange that Simon Wessely is insisting that M.E./CFS is caused by childhood abuse?

    Sounds like the psychs are just trying to empire build to me.
  5. Jerry S

    Jerry S Senior Member

    Childhood abuse?

    Yes, I keep reviewing my childhood looking for that abuse. Haven't come up with anything yet.

    Maybe I repressed it? :rolleyes:
  6. liverock

    liverock Senior Member

    The trouble is these days researchers count a parent scolding a child for misbehaving as physical abuse.
    These people would be better investigating the large amount of toxins being emitted into the environment as the cause.
  7. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

    I think with this illness you might be more inclined to recall things that happened you before you got sick (other people have said this to me as well) - maybe in other illnesses also. I had a very secure childhood and never felt threatened, etc. I was a good student etc so didn't get into trouble in school or anywhere else to be honest (grew up in a middle class neighbourhood so didn't feel threatened). But now I can almost recall when anyone said "boo" to me before becoming ill. So if people had it a bit harder than me, I could imagine this could appear to be a big thing. While really lots and lots of people in the population have things of some sort that happened them.

    That's in no way to denigrate the different sorts of abuse some people have to put up with.

    But I'd like to see studies that study any connection prospectively - ask people at age 20 or 25 or whatever before they became ill about the person's childhood and see then whether the people who rate their childhood as more difficult later on come out worse rather than retrospective studies which can be biased by recall bias.
  8. kamina

    kamina Retired account

    Is there a link to the full study? I would like to know how many people were included this. And I wonder... even if the prevelance of osteoarthritis is indeed higher in those who were abused as a child, how could this info be put to good practical use? "Parents: don't abuse your kids - they may get arthritis someday!" "Kids: you better avoid abuse from your parents (or whomever) unless you want to develope arthritis!"

    Sadly, I can't see anyone benefiting from this info besides certain psych-o's with an ideology or agenda to push.

    (Btw, wouldn't the "Other Health News and Research" section be a more appropriate place for this thread? Not a big deal, just sayin'. :p)
  9. N:B I'm not directing this at anyone whatsoever. Just thinking out loud. :p

    I'm sure childhood abuse is linked to many things, including the abilty to abuse people under the label of 'Psychiatrist'.

    People who are abused can go polar opposites:

    1)Good, they would never do to others what was done to them.


    2)They repeat and maintain abuse, as this time, they are in control. The abuse cycle is based on this, and it makes perfect logical sense to re-visit your abuse scenario in adulthood- now you call the shots. (To an abuser, this is their 'therapy'. It's a need, it relieves stress, it's a must).

    This explains child abusers who abuse children
    This explans dominatrix females who abuse males who pay for the abuse
    This explains men who beat their loving partner and apologise afterwards

    And so on.......

    All abuse - some consent.
    (Same mindset of domination and making the other person submit to you).

    Nearly all women who do this to men (sadistic acts) where abused themselves. They need a willing victim. Same goes for the men with an 'anger issue' who had a dad with an anger issue too who beat the concept into them.

    Really, abuse is infectious.

    Psychiatrists can abuse too, and feel the need to, hence they aren't saving
    people in ER - despite having an MD. They can make you submit and tie you up too - and make you their slave by locking the door and observing you on a CCTV monitor. Who else can do that? It's an amazing priviledged position to be in. You can tell women they are fat and ugly and no one would sleep with them and get away with it. You can play god.

    All they need to do, it so evoke a theory why you're begging for medical care and it's all legal. In CFS/ME: Claim somatization disorder, conversion disorder, hysteria - due to CFS/ME! Claim your mom is making you sick - so ban her from the ward, so then there's no evidence what goes on. Claim your girlfriend is an accomplice to your dellusion, so block her too.

    Who will believe anyone in a 'crazy ward' when you try and report 'crazy' going's on once the visitors leave and the moon rises. Only someone 'crazy' could dream up such elaborate stories. Huh?!

    A wonderful place to hide is the professional label, truly wonderful.

    It obviously irritates me to say the least that people who make up these 'studies' and 'research' acutally are mocking real abuse victims.

    In some way's if you're deranged, that's probably quite exciting.
    I could do research on that too and claim that patients negative responses are based on arthritis, lupus or anorexia.

    I could wear a white coat and tower over women and get them to tell me anything I want - given enough time, given enough sustained fear, given enough power.

    What would be the point though?

    Who benefits from pointing out anyone with a disease has been sexually abused? Does it stop it? Or does it infuriate patients who haven't been sexually abused and simutaneously make people who have annoyed that their personal histories are linked to assumed mental disorders like 'CFS/ME' or inflammatory diseases that having nothing what so ever to do with abuse - but to do with the immune system.

    Another poster said the other day, do mice with XMRV also suffer from abuse?
    (British Psychiatrist Simon Wessely, famously said XMRV in CFS does not explain childhood trauma). That was a brilliant comment.

    It points to the ludicrous concept, and utter waste of money and pointlessness of the entire thing. Shall I go do a survey and ask women how many times they've been beaten over the head by their ex - and do they have diabetes?

    These sort of ideas should stop at school when you're doing 1st year psychology.

    Quite an extraordinary idea I feel, but very very naughty for the people who think these things up? Huh? Wink Wink. :mad:
  10. Mark

    Mark Former CEO

    Sofa, UK
    Reverse Psychology

    Everything you said, cold_taste_of_tears. All so true. Your analysis of the psychology of abuse is spot on, certainly fits every case I've experienced. Also spot on: yes, somebody who's been labelled crazy is somebody you can do crazy unbelievable things to, because nobody will believe them. Be careful who you reveal that tip to...

    Here are a few more angles on this subject that I've been pondering lately...

    I met with a friend today and summarised all the latest news and theories, because his wife has ME. Talked a lot about Wessely. As always, it was a pretty hard sell, I had to go through everything all over again and he was listening but he wanted to look it all up. Then I mentioned Wessely's childhood sexual abuse theories. SOLD! I think people are fairly aware of what it means when somebody's obsessed with that subject, so it's a crucial aspect to emphasise when trying to win someone over I reckon.

    Second point, contrary to what Wessely said (and I'm sure he doesn't realise this yet) XMRV can explain links between childhood trauma and CFS, because as we now understand, any form of stress can trigger the latent virus, and the earlier and more often that stress happens, the worse things will get. So XMRV even explains the 'research' findings from the Wessely school, which is very good news for us.

    Third, I think it's pretty obvious that severe childhood trauma is going to harm a child's physical and mental development and make them more vulnerable to just about any medical condition. Consciously or not - and it's no excuse but I think it's important to realise that all of them, Wessely included, mayactually be quite unconscious of what their own true motivations are and believe they are doing good work - these guys have realised that they can carry on with this research for decades, with pretty much any disease going, one by one, wherever they can get their foot in the door. But does all this stuff really need proving?

    Fourth, really just to re-emphasise the important point: how does digging around in all this painful history actually help anyone? For someone who really was abused, you're just revisiting that abuse; you have a massive onus on you to be quite certain you can solve every single problem you unearth or you will do immense damage. For the majority who weren't abused, the list of negative consequences of asking the question is just too long to list here! Can they answer this: how traumatic is it for someone who wasn't abused to have someone in authority probing away to try to get them to talk about that subject? I bet their research doesn't explore the consequences of raising these issues for the patients who weren't abused. The damage they can do, we know all too well - but I bet their research focuses on the patients they've 'helped' with therapy, and doesn't look too deeply at the effects on those who just walk away in disgust.

    And finally, to finish with the fundamental philosophical problem I have with the whole subject of psychology: none of it is actually Science! I think it was Karl Popper who explained that for a theory to be scientific, it has to be falsifiable. If you put up a theory that can't possibly be disproved, then it isn't a scientific theory - you can't apply the scientific method to it. And how could you disprove the abstract idea that there's an 'ego' and an 'id' inside your mind, for example? All other scientists are subject to this criterion, but not the psychologists. Maybe certain individual studies testing specific hypotheses are falsifiable in some sense, but at the level of fundamental theories like those of Freud, or indeed any more modern theories of mind, there's no way anyone could ever prove they aren't true!

    So anybody who's experienced what CFS patients have experienced with doctors and psychiatrists has gained a really deep and unique insight into the whole mental health arena, because anyone who's mentally ill has this same fundamental problem once they've been labelled. From the moment the doc or shrink acquires the belief that you were abused, or that your true and correct 'illness belief' is a psychological phenomenon, there's nothing you can say that will disprove their idea. You can try behaving meekly and politely and going along with it - that will confirm to them that they're on the right lines because you're not objecting to it all. You can challenge it, maybe get agitated about it; that will illustrate some kind of 'denial' to them. Looking into health issues on the internet (and doing what we do on this forum), because nobody can cure you but you won't give up, is strange behaviour and proof to them that you're obsessed with health. The longer you go on with this un-natural dialogue based around the fixed point of the therapist's preconception, the more distressing it becomes, because you sense you have subtly lost the power to communicate with them normally, but you don't know what the idea is that they've formed about you because they won't tell you. And god help you if you know some psychology from the outset and manage to work out what their theory is, because if you state it and challenge it, then they'll be certain they're right because you were the one who brought it up! So the two of you spiral down together: the patient getting more and more psychically disturbed by what's going on, and the therapist becoming more and more convinced that they are making good progress, digging up what was buried beneath the surface.

    I have to finish, though, by saying that from my limited experience on both sides of the fence I know that, like in any walk of life, there are good and bad psychiatrists. There are good people in all these nasty jobs, aware that the whole thing is rotten, and that one necessary way to work against it is from the inside. There are people bravely infiltrating these hell-holes and trying to do what good they can, working against those evil and disturbed people who've found a legitimised way of pursuing their perversions. So my advice to anyone finding themselves trapped on the wrong side of the fence, is that your job at each step out of the maze is basically to identify who your friends are, both on the inside and the outside, and to reach out for their help.
  11. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

    I can't remember all the details but somebody told me that researchers have to be careful about bringing up stressful events of the past through questioning if there is no need (they might have to get ethical permission first, for example). This was in the context of the patient journey e.g. did the patient have a difficult time up to now or something. But it makes me think that it is recognised that bringing up past hurts is recognised as traumatic in itself.
  12. Liberty

    Liberty Guest

    Esme Fuller Thomson Bio

    Here is the link to Fuller-Thomson's bio. Scroll down and you can see the studies/publications she has done. Note that she has done one on CFS and depression.

    It is amazing that she gets funding to produce this rubbish.

  13. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

    Don't know if it's a co-incidence or not but the link has been changed ever so slightly to:

    Here's the abstract on CFS. It's not on child abuse, etc.

  14. MEKoan

    MEKoan Senior Member

    Well now, all this abstract says is that 36% of us, especially those who got ill young, have no money and don't know where our next meal is coming from and who were in pain, were depressed. That just makes sense. How depressing is that!

    It also says that clinicians should find out if someone with CFS is depressed, and may be suicidal, but this abstract makes no mention of depression being the root problem or in any way causative.

    This, alone, seems very good practice to me and is all the discipline of social work could add to the proceedings. Once it is understood that depression is not the root, the depressing consequences of having this illness do need to be addressed.

    If doctors, in general, could be trusted to understand this, it could actually be helpful. No?

    I'm going to check earlier on the thread but I see no problem with the abstract.

  15. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    I'm always seeing different articles about the biological impact of childhood abuse. There was another one on its impact on genetic aging recently:

    Yet it still seems that a higher rate of childhood abuse is amongst CFS patients is the primary argument Wessely etc have for viewing CFS as a psychological condition. Are they just ignorant of all of this research? Should someone bring it to their attention?
  16. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

    I've no particular problem with it either. I was just posting what somebody linked to.

    It is the following two studies I have problems with. Mainly because they don't tell us anything about "proper" CFS as they use the empiric definition. But the readers won't know that - they'll look like well designed studies to them.

    Patients going to some UK "CFS/ME" clinics are now being asked about childhood abuse.

  17. MEKoan

    MEKoan Senior Member

    Yes, Tom, a lot of costly, irrelevant and potentially damaging nonsense. I will say no more for it's all been said. There are holes you could drive a truck through here.

    There's no madness like institutional madness; they are the experts after all.

    peace to you,
  18. Aussie Woman

    Aussie Woman

    There is more to it

    I WAS abused. The constant stress of constant abuse takes its toll on the immune system (you are even more likely to catch a cold when under stress). All those stress hormones (cortisol and others) churning through your body, hour after hour, day after day, year after year. The effects are cumulative, and in due course the whole switchboard fritzes out.

    There are intervening variables (such as genetic predisposition, timing of medical intervention, etc) that need to be factored into the equasion.

    CFS/ME is not a psychological disorder. It is a physical disease. All body systems are interconnected.
  19. Carlie

    Carlie Guest

    I agree that everything is inter-related. I also agree that "all those stress hormones churning through your body, hour after hour, day after day, year after year" take their toll. They certainly took their emotional toll on me and all the people around me, too.

    They are not taking their emotional toll on me any more, however. By happy chance I encountered Fred Luskin's work. Fred was badly betrayed by a long time friend and, in order to deal with the betrayal, he bailed into graduate school and got his PhD. His study? Wait for it - foregiveness. It turns out that there was very little psychological research on the subject of foregiveness and Luskin has now done a great deal of it.

    I was not big on the whole idea, until he defined "foregivenesss." It's not about kissing and making up, or forgeting, or indeed even about foregiving in the sense people usually use that word.

    I was very resistent and angry when faced with his work. However, I decided that I had no right to judge it before I read it. His ideas were amazing and simple, too. I was embarrassed by how simple they were actually.

    I highly recomend his book "Forgiving for Good." I suffered from childhood abuse and quite badly. I suffered more from not knowing how to deal with it. Now I know and, almost overnight, I do not suffer from it any more. It still happened; it still has its repercussions and consequences, but I do not suffer from it anymore.

    His book was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

  20. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

    I agree with your points generally that this can be a problem.

    But I'm not sure it applies to the two CDC studies of CFS (empiric/Reeves critieria) - see abstracts at:

    The Georgia study in particular was quite large.

    The problem is that it used the empiric/Reeves definition so contained all sorts of people most of whom most likely wouldn't be diagnosed with CFS by a knowledgeable physician. So I don't think it gives us useful information about whether there is an increased risk or not.

    I also think there can be recall bias if you're not in good health - you focus more on what happened to you before you got ill.

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