Yesterday The Observer informed the UK that ME is largely a mental health condition: Dr David Tuller replies

Countrygirl

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Yesterday, Sunday 29th Nov, there was a very mis-informed article in The Observer which relayed the BPS views on ME and Long Covid to the British public. who were told that ME has a large mental health component and that the same will be likely true for Long Covid.

Here is an extract and the link:

"In 2018, the largest study to date on the causes of CFS suggested that the condition may begin as a result of an exaggerated immune response. CFS is often diagnosed when fatigue and other prolonged symptoms cannot be medically explained, but a “trigger” illness or event is commonly identified. The complex nature of CFS means that improved medical testing is only part of the picture for providing better help for those living with it. Exploring the emotional component is integral, because CFS is often informed by a person's underlying mental health and past experiences. Fatigue is compounded by catastrophic thinking. Patience, empathy and validation, then, are key to any successful care pathway, particularly in light of the well-established link between CFS and those who have experienced childhood trauma. The precise underpinnings of this link are not fully
understood, but it's clear".

Dr Jonathon Tomlinson is a GP in east London, caring for one of the most socio-economically deprived communities in London. His key interest is “medically unexplained” symptoms. Tomlinson believes that a vulnerability to developing long Covid may be rooted in trauma. “The evidence so far is unsurprising. If someone has a history of mental distress and develops long-term symptoms after infection, they may have less resilience. The symptoms may be much more anxiety-provoking, which in turn makes the symptoms worse.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...th-long-covid-months-after-catching-the-virus

Both Dr David Tuller and Dr Charles Shepherd set to work to tackle this misinformation in David's new blog post.

https://www.virology.ws/2020/11/29/...ZAMNeZRGQA7tyRynRjD9wxyU3rypWc_2_EmHEhaQHfbH0

Trial By Error: The Observer Slips Up; ME Association Responds
29 NOVEMBER 2020
By David Tuller, DrPH


When such misrepresentations appear in widely circulated articles, it is easy to blame the writers—and of course anyone putting out health information to the public should be held to appropriate standards. But often reporters and journalists are themselves subject to the misinformation disseminated by supposedly reputable sources—and might not realize they are getting suckered.

I do not consider the Science Media Centre, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, the PACE authors, and their cabal of like-minded colleagues to be reputable sources. They all have a long history of perpetuating untruths in this domain of science. Unfortunately, journalists not steeped in this saga will often end up relying on what Irish psychologist Brian Hughes has called “eminence-based medicine”—as seems to have happened here.
 

Jyoti

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Thanks for sharing this @Countrygirl . The original article caught my eye yesterday and as I read, my horror and despair grew---not again! Even in the realms of long covid, where I think many of us hope the biological nature of our illness will be easier to see, the same old story emerges. And is published and widely disseminated. I am so happy to see both excellent refutations!
 

splusholia

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I’ve written an email complaint. I believe it breaks their editorial code on the basis of it being inaccurate. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t believe there is any proper evidence linking childhood trauma and CFS or showing that mental health is the biggest factor.
 

Sledgehammer

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I’ve written an email complaint. I believe it breaks their editorial code on the basis of it being inaccurate. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t believe there is any proper evidence linking childhood trauma and CFS or showing that mental health is the biggest factor.
It's a shame to see this in the Observer after all that was written by the Guardian a few years ago.

A short story. Both myself and my younger sibling were raised (Cough) in awful surroundings.
We both suffered physical and mental torture. Yes it was traumatic for us both. I was diagnosed with Aspergers a few years after my diagnosis of ME/CFS, I knew I had some form of Autism decades ago but didn't know how to get a diagnosis. My sibling also has mental health issues, is as fit as a butchers dog, and could probably keep up with a Tour de France cyclist.