Very misleading article.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by gapsych, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. gapsych

    gapsych New Member





    Childhood abuse linked to chronic fatigue syndrome

    Last Updated: 2009-01-05 16:00:22 -0400 (Reuters Health)

    By Anne Harding

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - New research confirms that emotional and sexual abuse in childhood are important risk factors for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

    Individuals who reported moderate to severe levels of sexual abuse, emotional neglect, and emotional abuse in childhood were nearly six times as likely to have CFS compared to people who didn't experience maltreatment in early life, researchers report in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychology.

    Dr. Christine Heim of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and her colleagues also found that CFS patients who had experienced maltreatment as children had abnormally low levels of cortisol, a hormone the body needs in order to mount a healthy response to stress. Cortisol secretion was normal in the patients who weren't abused in childhood.

    Cortisol is "good to have during stress," Heim explained in an interview. The hormone controls how the body metabolizes energy when stress strikes, and also influences immune function. Having too little cortisol -- or too much -- can signal an impaired ability to cope with stress.

    "It's all about having the right balance, and childhood trauma could be more like a general risk factor that interferes with the body's ability to maintain balance," she added.

    Patients with CFS suffer from debilitating fatigue that doesn't get better with rest, and may be worsened by physical or mental activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website. Other symptoms can include joint and muscle pain and memory problems and difficulty concentrating.

    In a previous pilot study of Wichita, Kansas residents, Heim and her team had uncovered a link between childhood trauma and CFS risk. In the current study, they compared 113 people with CFS and 124 "controls" without the disorder.

    Among the CFS patients, 62 percent had experienced at least one type of childhood trauma, such as sexual, physical or emotional abuse, or emotional or physical neglect, compared to 24 percent of the control group.

    Any trauma exposure increased the likelihood of developing CFS 5.6-fold, and the risk rose with the number of types of childhood maltreatment a person reported.

    Normally, a person's cortisol levels climb when they wake up in the morning. Overall, this cortisol awakening response was "flattened" among the CFS patients. However, when the researchers separated out the CFS patients who also reported childhood trauma, they found they were the only group with abnormally low levels of the hormone. Levels in those with no history of trauma who had CFS were the same as those of the control patients.

    Not all of the CFS patients in the study had experienced childhood abuse, Heim pointed out, so there is likely another mechanism that caused the syndrome in these patients -- for example, a combination of genetic vulnerability and infection.

    Nevertheless, she added, the findings underscore the importance of seeing CFS as a condition with both psychological and biological roots.

    SOURCE: Archives of General Psychiatry, January 2009.

    [This Message was Edited on 01/05/2009]
    [This Message was Edited on 01/06/2009]
    [This Message was Edited on 01/06/2009]
  2. karynwolfe

    karynwolfe New Member

    Hmm. So in a nutshell, people who are more stressed get sick more often? Is this something they think the public doesn't already know? These findings make no sense to me. They seem.. redundant, and it's as if the only point of it was to create a bias towards CFS having only a psychiatric basis.

    People who have endured more psychological stress are more likely to get ALL SORTS of illnesses. Gah.

    Yes, very maddening![This Message was Edited on 01/05/2009]
  3. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    balderdash and piffle.

  4. romalaw

    romalaw Member

    Estimates are that 1 in 4 women have been victims of childhood sexual abuse, if you add to this number those who have experienced other childhood abuse, the numbers are quite high. I question the low numbers reported in the control group. Then again, I'm sure this is based on self report and many are in denial about early abuse.

    Another point, research is showing that early abuse, trauma or stress does effect the developing brain in children, so while there may be some correlation, not just with CFS but many conditions, there is no proof of cause and effect. As someone said, it's not new news that a stressed system is more likely to get ill.

    This hypothesis is just overly simplistic to me. Also the study isn't large enough. Kinda like Freud theory that "hysteria" (again mostly a female diagnosis at the time) was caused by women's uteruses. When it's a condition that mostly effects men, they look for a physical cause, when it's women, too often they label it emotional, which is a stygmatized term in our society.

  5. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    It's all been said, very well, by others here.

    I wonder if you want to leave the title of your post as it is as it becomes yet another place on the internet where, if given only a cursory glance, it says: Childhood abuse linked to chronic fatigue syndrome. One would have to read your post to be disabused of that notion.

    Just a thought. Take care Gap.

  6. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    You are absolutly right. I keep forgetting that anyone can read our posts.

    Do you have any ideas for a title change.

    Thanks for your suggestion. It is good to take this into consideration when we now post.

    Take care.

    I will put in a title but am open to any suggestions!!!!
    [This Message was Edited on 01/06/2009]
  7. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Things have come to a pretty pass, haven't they. Having to figure out how to spread information without spreading the message. If you know what I mean. (I'm suffering from the same muddle headedness you spoke about on the other thread.)

    And, of course, we are all taking part in a bit of an experiment on this message board. We on the internet talking about ME and FM are a big part of the public face of these disorders.

    I know, it's crazy to think that there are people who read and judge us but there are. I'm sure we are used to prove this or that cockamayme theory. I'm so tired of being judged by the state of my health.

    As to title, well now, two foggy heads :eek:) Uhm... Oh dear, I can't remember what you changed it to but I'm sure it's fine.

    Take care, good Gap,

  8. findmind

    findmind New Member

    Good anaylsis, cate! So right on...

    This article, gap, is part and parcel of the CDC and Emory U's misleading and damaging PR about the so-called CFS. That means every person who has fatigue, from over 200 different medical illnesses, has had a high percentage of abuse as a child. They sure aren't talking about my illness, nor my childhood.

    We must all realize by now that the CDC is doing everything they can to psychologize our illness, as they have already done in the UK. Smart doctors everywhere know the CDC is playing a deadly game, with our lives at stake. Most doctors will try to follow symptoms and give us relief, at least, while waiting for the other shoe to drop; something they can see on a lab test.

    The general public will know the truth someday. All we can do is wait and endure. Keep the faith!


  9. loto

    loto Member

    I read something about this about the causes of Fibromyalgia also! Yeah, it is misleading. It probably makes people think they were abused as children and don't remember it or something! I also am sick of people who don't know everything about FM and CFS think it's a psychological thing only!!!!
    Lets get the word out!!!
  10. sascha

    sascha Member

    it seems legitimate to me. low cortisol levels are connected with the finding that certain, not all, PWCs report childhood trauma of some sort that according to researchers made them more susceptible to developing CFIDS. i believe i am one of those people, and that CDC finding really impacted me-- made sense.

    they did state that there are other people with CFIDS who DON'T have the low cortisol levels, and that there ARE other causes for CFIDS.

    i also had VERY high HHV6 levels before i went on valcyte. these levels are now way down and i'm still on anti-virals, though not the valcyte.

    but i spent most of yesterday thinking about this finding. it deeply affected me. my cortisol levels are way out of whack, and something rings true there for me, that i experienced, and suffered, very high levels of uncertainty and anxiety and fear, at times during my childhood. sometimes life just gives us some good bonks; sometimes family- and maybe i was just less able to cope with stressors - i do feel there's something in that finding from CDC that carries truth for me.

    of course, each person needs to carefully and honestly examine past experiences- either that finding will resonate with them; or it won't. for me, it does. Sascha
  11. RatsWife

    RatsWife New Member

    For me, I'd have added in that final sentence another few words. Such as:

    "Nevertheless, she added, the findings underscore the importance of seeing [some, though not all] CFS [patients] as [those having] a condition with [a high probability of] both psychological and biological roots [but, certainly, not all]."

    It has been known for decades that depression depresses the immune system along with other biological functions. Depression can be symptomatic AND asymtomatic. Depression can be situational AND non-situational.

    While I personally appreciate simplicity these days, the article is just too simple. Too pat. Too narrow and appears to reflect a certain mindset on the physician's part.

    In my opinion, we are all shaped by our life's journeys. As such we would all fall into already existing statistical rankings about our species.

    The redundancy of these findings are hopefully not from a tax-funded grant.
    [This Message was Edited on 01/07/2009]
  12. bjsmit1

    bjsmit1 New Member

    This is absolutely reprehensible; I've commented on Bill Reeve's from the CDC in the past, but in my strong opinion, he needs to be ousted now. I am outraged...

    The CFIDS Association of America dealt with this same study in November 2006, and in the latest study, the researchers addressed NONE of the weaknesses that were identified back then.

    The CFIDS Association is actively addressing this recent report with the CDC's Division of Media Relations, especially when other studies regarding physiological issues get little to no recognition.

    The following url details this issue in 2006:

    Brian Smith
    Board of Directors
    The CFIDS Association of America
  13. bjsmit1

    bjsmit1 New Member

    The following is the text of the previous url, detailing the response to this issue in November 2006.

    Limited Studies of Early-Life Stress Put in Context

    Two studies published in the November 6, 2006, issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry associate trauma in early life with CFS and CFS-like illness. However, each study has important limitations to consider and the authors’ conclusions should not be overgeneralized.

    Both new studies focused on a narrow set of adverse events and excluded others, such as infection, serious injury and malnutrition, shown to be important in other conditions, and that warrant further exploration in CFS as well.

    Adverse events in early childhood have been shown to be predisposing factors in other serious conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression. A report compiled by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child at summarizes this literature in layman’s terms. No broader discussion of this literature is included in either paper and thus is being overlooked by the media.

    Studies like these that rely solely on unverified self-report of childhood experiences occurring 35-50 years earlier, particularly of people with later-life physical and psychological health issues, have many limitations that are well-documented in the medical literature. Although the mean age of subjects in the Heim study was 50.5 years and subjects in the Kato study were 42 years or older, this limitation is only acknowledged in the Kato paper, as described below.

    Christine Heim, PhD, of Emory University is the lead author of a study titled, "Early Adverse Experience and Risk for CFS: Results from a Population-Based Study." She is no longer affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s CFS Research Group. Dr. Heim describes the small study of 43 CFS patients as "exploratory" and states that results "should be considered as preliminary." The researchers found that CFS cases reported significantly higher levels of childhood trauma and psychopathology compared to healthy controls. Exposure to childhood trauma was associated with three-to eight-fold increased risk for CFS across the trauma types assessed. The authors state, "our results also clearly demonstrate that not all cases of CFS have a history of childhood trauma."

    The second study, by Kenji Kato, PhD, et al., of the Karolinska Institutet, presents similar findings from a study nested within a Swedish Twin Registry of 19,192 twin pairs born between January 1, 1935, and December 31, 1958. All twins were screened for the symptoms of CFS by telephone, but investigators did not conduct thorough physical and mental status exams to confirm CFS diagnosis. Thus, conclusions are based on "CFS-like illness," and not CFS as strictly defined. In all, 447 subjects fit the description of "CFS-like illness." Study results indicate an association between "emotional instability" and self-reported stress and chronic fatigue/CFS-like illness. In examining differences between twin pairs, the researchers reported that, "certain genetic propensities may ameliorate or exacerbate the effect of stress. At the same time, genetic influences on emotional instability also contribute to the development of fatiguing symptoms." The authors state that "a number of cases might have been misclassified owing to recovery or recall bias by the time of the interview."

    As the November 3, 2006, announcements by CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding underscore, the important story about CFS is much larger than any single study or pair of studies. The media coverage over the last week, of which only a small fraction relates to these studies, reflects the bigger picture too. That said, all people, including the subset of CFS patients described by these studies, whose lives have been affected by trauma in their childhood years certainly deserve compassion and careful study so that the biological and psychological impact of these early-life events is better understood.

  14. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I am so impressed with what people are saying .

    This article is a good example of how something can be reported and at first glance seems reasonable. However by analyzing and digging deeper, we begin to see the fallacies and misleading statements not only in the study but also the article.

    This type of thinking/analyzing helps us gain strength in what sometimes seems an insurmountable goal to get accurate information to the public.

    [This Message was Edited on 01/08/2009]
  15. bjsmit1

    bjsmit1 New Member

    I briefly responded to member "findmind" on another topic I created regarding this issue -- I plan to follow-up with more details when I'm feeling better. The url to that post is the following:

    As I sated in that post, I plan on providing info about how The CFIDS Association of America is in no way tied to this latest "research", as well as the CAA's response. I posted to provide clarification about what forum member "findmind" had stated.

    Brian Smtih