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"Chronic fatigue syndrome in the media: a content analysis of newspaper articles"

Dolphin

Senior Member
Messages
17,567
The full text is an easy read.
No biology.
Main statistics are bar charts and percentages.
Short.

However, just because it's easy to read, doesn't mean it's not frustrating to read such an unbalanced piece ...

However, the reviewer, Peter White (see page 3), might not have been frustrated with the approach! (and maybe he "helped", as reviewers often give input)

Free full text: http://shortreports.rsmjournals.com/content/2/5/42.full

Chronic fatigue syndrome in the media: a content analysis of newspaper articles.

JRSM Short Rep. 2011 May;2(5):42. Epub 2011 May 25.

Knudsen AK, Omens AN, Harvey SB, Lvvik CM, Lervik LV, Mykletun A.

Source

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen , Bergen , Norway.

Abstract*

OBJECTIVES:

Although cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise treatment are recognized evidence-based treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), their use is still considered controversial by some patient groups.

This debate has been reflected in the media, where many patients gather health information.

The aim of this study was to examine how treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome/ME is described in the newspaper media.

DESIGN:

Content analysis of newspaper articles.

SETTING:

The digitalized media archive Atekst was used to identify Norwegian newspaper articles where chronic fatigue syndrome/ME was mentioned.

PARTICIPANTS:

Norwegian newspaper articles published over a 20-month period, from 1 January 2008 to 31 August 2009.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Statements regarding efficiency of various types of treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and the related source of the treatment advice.

Statements were categorized as being either positive or negative towards evidence-based or alternative treatment.

RESULTS:

One hundred and twenty-two statements regarding treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome/ME were identified among 123 newspaper articles.

The most frequent statements were positive statements towards alternative treatment Lightning Process (26.2%), negative statements towards evidence-based treatments (22.1%), and positive statements towards other alternative treatment interventions (22.1%).

Only 14.8% of the statements were positive towards evidence-based treatment.

Case-subjects were the most frequently cited sources, accounting for 35.2% of the statements, followed by physicians and the Norwegian ME association.

CONCLUSIONS:

Statements regarding treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome/ME in newspapers are mainly pro-alternative treatment and against evidence-based treatment.

The media has great potential to influence individual choices.

The unbalanced reporting of treatment options for chronic fatigue syndrome/ME in the media is potentially harmful.

PMID: 21637403 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3105457

* I gave each sentence its own paragraph.

ETA: "alternative treatments" do not necessarily mean complementary therapy. It's everything that's not CBT/GET (the "evidence-based" treatments) or Lightning Process.

Abstracts tend to be more difficult to read than the full text of articles where everything is explained step by step in a less dense manner.
 
Messages
13,774
First author has co-published with Chalder, and final author wrote this with Wessely: http://forums.phoenixrising.me/show...ional-Medicine&p=141415&viewfull=1#post141415

I'm not really able to read this now, but thanks for posting it up. LOL at the "our study shows that the media should do more to promote our beliefs" type approach which Wessely et al have been taking for years. It's pretty insidious and corrupting imo. If there's to be a psychosocial examination of the media by researchers, it should not be by the same researchers who are promoting controversial and contested theories in other areas, where the media might be expected to pursue independent investigations.
 

alex3619

Senior Member
Messages
13,810
Location
Logan, Queensland, Australia
Hi, I have started a thread on what advocacy can do in response to these claims of evidence based medicine:

http://forums.phoenixrising.me/showthread.php?16443-Evidence-Based-Medicine-For-ME-(and-CFS)

There is a link there to an older thread that is still good on EBM and Zombie Science:

http://forums.phoenixrising.me/show...ncl-one-calling-it-a-quot-Zombie-Science-quot

I intend to say a lot about EBM over the next year but I am still doing background research. That will take months.

Anti-viral therapy, despite being an order of magnitude better than CBT/GET, would be considered an alternative therapy I think. I may say more after I have read ithe paper.

Bye, Alex

PS It is perhaps ironic that I agree with one thing they are saying: it is important that the media not be infected with bias. The bias I am talking about of course is the claim that "evidence based methods" are better than alternatives. Patients have tried these methods. They don't work. It should be more than a concern if the "evidence based methods" produce results that equate with failure. Perhaps there is something wrong with the evidence?

It is disturbing though that the lightning process is receiving so much glowing praise. I wonder if they are better at marketing than the EBM crowd?

Every single study that has looked at objective functional outcomes has found that functional capacity is either not improved or has worsened after CBT/GET. Somehow this is not considered good evidence despite their use of the RCT methodology. I wonder why? ;) These studies match the patient experience, which is another reason why we do not give CBT/GET any credibility. This is on top of the fact that the CBT/GET approach is based on medical ideas that belong in the dark ages.
 

Dolphin

Senior Member
Messages
17,567
Hi, I have started a thread on what advocacy can do in response to these claims of evidence based medicine:

http://forums.phoenixrising.me/showthread.php?16443-Evidence-Based-Medicine-For-ME-(and-CFS)

There is a link there to an older thread that is still good on EBM and Zombie Science:

http://forums.phoenixrising.me/show...ncl-one-calling-it-a-quot-Zombie-Science-quot

I intend to say a lot about EBM over the next year but I am still doing background research. That will take months.

Anti-viral therapy, despite being an order of magnitude better than CBT/GET, would be considered an alternative therapy I think. I may say more after I have read it.

Bye, Alex
Ok, will have a look again.
One obvious thing in this case is that people can send in an e-letter. Max 400 words, 5 refs. Best to have one or two references (one can be the initial study if you're stuck!) to make it look like more professional. But e-letters don't have to be word perfect.
 

WillowJ

คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl
Messages
4,940
Location
WA, USA
One obvious thing in this case is that people can send in an e-letter. Max 400 words, 5 refs. Best to have one or two references (one can be the initial study if you're stuck!) to make it look like more professional. But e-letters don't have to be word perfect.

the master thread on advocacy is here; you might perhaps like to add a post there about writing to journals? Although someone else did mention that on one of the threads, but I think not the master list.
 

Snow Leopard

Hibernating
Messages
5,902
Location
South Australia
I've skimmed this paper before. There were a few other media analysis papers (with different focuses), I think most if not all of them were cited in this one though.