Adolescent Offspring of Mothers With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Fred Springfield posted this to co-cure Feb 19 '10

Adolescent Offspring of Mothers With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Journal: J Adolesc Health. 2010 Mar;46(3):284-291. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Authors: Smith MS, Buchwald DS, Bogart A, Goldberg J, Smith WR, Afari N.

Affiliation: Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

NLM Citation: PMID: 20159507


PURPOSE: The goal of this study was to determine whether adolescent offspring of mothers with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have higher prevalence of CFS and report more fatigue, greater pain sensitivity, more sleep problems, and poorer cardiopulmonary fitness in comparison with offspring with no exposure to maternal CFS.

METHODS: A total of 26 adolescent offspring of 20 mothers diagnosed with CFS were compared with 45 adolescent offspring of 30 age-matched healthy control mothers. Study measures included structured interviews and medical and laboratory examinations for CFS; tender point examination; maximum oxygen uptake and perceived exertion; dolorimetry pain ratings; and questionnaires on fatigue severity and sleepiness.

RESULTS: In comparison with offspring of healthy mothers, those exposed to mothers with CFS reported higher prevalence of fatigue of at least 1-month duration (23% vs. 4%), fatigue of 6 months or longer (15% vs. 2%), and met criteria for CFS (12% vs. 2%), although these differences only approached statistical significance. CFS and healthy mothers differed on almost all study outcomes, but offspring groups did not differ on measures of current fatigue severity, pain sensitivity, sleep, mean number of tender points, and cardiopulmonary fitness.

CONCLUSIONS: The higher prevalence of fatiguing states in offspring of CFS mothers, despite the lack of statistical significance, suggests that familial factors may potentially play a role in developing chronically fatiguing states. Alternately, perturbations in pain sensitivity and cardiopulmonary fitness may be consequences of CFS. Future studies should focus on examining the impact of maternal CFS and associated disability on psychosocial functioning of offspring.


Copyright 2010 Society for Adolescent Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved
 
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Interesting to me, since my two kids fall in the 12% meeting criteria for CFS.

Anybody else troubled by that last line? "Future studies should focus on examining the impact of maternal CFS and associated disability on psychosocial functioning of offspring."

Am I reading that wrong, or does that imply that my kids' CFS symptoms may be psychosocial phenomena created by the impact of my CFS and associated disability?
 

Dolphin

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Interesting to me, since my two kids fall in the 12% meeting criteria for CFS.

Anybody else troubled by that last line? "Future studies should focus on examining the impact of maternal CFS and associated disability on psychosocial functioning of offspring."

Am I reading that wrong, or does that imply that my kids' CFS symptoms may be psychosocial phenomena created by the impact of my CFS and associated disability?
I haven't seen the full paper but that is the impression it gives readers. This would seem plausible given a lot of Dr. Buchwald's writings in recent years. Very frustrating. There could be other reasons why it could be more common in families but they're not giving that information.
 

Mithriel

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That is exactly what they mean. Watching you being ill has made them think this is the proper way to behave. If you were not in their life, or would "pull yourself together" they would not be ill.

Mithriel
 

CBS

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Fred Springfield posted this to co-cure Feb 19 '10

Adolescent Offspring of Mothers With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Journal: J Adolesc Health. 2010 Mar;46(3):284-291. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Authors: Smith MS, Buchwald DS, Bogart A, Goldberg J, Smith WR, Afari N.

Affiliation: Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

NLM Citation: PMID: 20159507

<snip>

METHODS: A total of 26 adolescent offspring of 20 mothers diagnosed with CFS were compared with 45 adolescent offspring of 30 age-matched healthy control mothers.

<snip>

RESULTS: In comparison with offspring of healthy mothers, those exposed to mothers with CFS reported higher prevalence of fatigue of at least 1-month duration (23% vs. 4%), fatigue of 6 months or longer (15% vs. 2%), and met criteria for CFS (12% vs. 2%), although these differences only approached statistical significance. CFS and healthy mothers differed on almost all study outcomes, but offspring groups did not differ on measures of current fatigue severity, pain sensitivity, sleep, mean number of tender points, and cardiopulmonary fitness.

CONCLUSIONS: The higher prevalence of fatiguing states in offspring of CFS mothers, despite the lack of statistical significance, suggests that familial factors may potentially play a role in developing chronically fatiguing states. Alternately, perturbations in pain sensitivity and cardiopulmonary fitness may be consequences of CFS. Future studies should focus on examining the impact of maternal CFS and associated disability on psychosocial functioning of offspring.


Copyright 2010 Society for Adolescent Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved
I have said this before but it bears repeating in this context; when reading results from studies like this it is extremely important to keep in mind the aim of statistical analysis (to assess probability of getting the same result by chance - reliability) and how it differs from clinical significance.

I prefer the terms 'statistical stability' to 'statistical significance' as the number of subjects included in a study determines the p value (standard for significance is generally p=<0.5 or one in 20 odds of getting the results by chance).

The number of children studied was so low (26) that even a six fold difference in the rate of fatigue and CFS when compared to the children of healthy controls "only approached significance." A study of even 50 CFS children with the same proportion of children with symptoms would have been highly significant.

This study is what should be characterized as a very interesting (and quite promising) pre-test and I suspect that is why the editors chose to publish it.
 

CBS

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A quick note, my comment on the need to properly characterize the reasons for not reaching stability were not intended to make any claim on how th results were being interpreted or any other agendas.

Claims by the authors that the correlation was caused by emotional modeling (or anything else - besides cause for further investigation) would be a case of "making shit up" and that's not science.