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‘Havana syndrome’ symptoms of diplomats in Cuba are not mass hysteria

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by rvallee, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Since no one is posting this yet I'm going to right ahead.

    Replace a few words and this argument could be applied to ME. The main arguments are the same, although the body of evidence is comparably small for this case compared to the decades of work on ME. They are also quite likely to be correct in this case, mass hysteria is simply not a serious thing.

    Except it's written by one of the most ardent ME deniers: Edward Shorter. He most likely retains his belief, arguing exactly the other side of this very argument without skipping a beat.

    Ironically I'm seeing quite a bit of disagreement in the comments that basically echo the exact same arguments Shorter himself would make to defend his beliefs about ME. Cognitive dissonance is one hell of a drug.

    https://theconversation.com/havana-...iplomats-in-cuba-are-not-mass-hysteria-118678
     
  2. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  3. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Hard to believe that this is the same person that thinks ME is psychogenic.
     
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  4. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is: https://theconversation.com/profiles/edward-shorter-748687

    He writes:
    That sounds very dualistic...
     
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  5. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is bad news for the diplomats. It can only mean that their symptoms are psychogenic.

     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
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  6. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Can we rule out that psychogenic illness isn't merely a label for every as of yet undiscovered disease mechanism?

    Has it ever been definitely been demonstrated to exist?
     
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  7. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    :wtf:???!

    Does status of the victims play a role in credibility here?

    Interesting that ME effects people from all walks of life, but no matter, all are stigmatized and not given the benefit of the doubt, as in this case.


    And - deep pelvic pain caused by endometriosis is still seen as psychological by some.
     
  8. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Let me misquote:

    "Whether an occult core of organic pathology exists, from which these waves of illness attribution radiate, is a question that remains to be answered. But no clinician doing research today on Havana Syndrome can afford to be unmindful of Robert Aronowitz's warning that "A market for somatic labels exists in the large pool of "stressed-out" or somaticizing patients who seek to disguise an emotional complaint or to "upgrade" their diagnosis from a nebulous one to a legitimate disease"...The evidence of somatization is that its victims take their symptoms, psychogenic in nature, to be evidence of organic disease (Lipowski 1988) It is a praiseworthy and humane characteristic for physicians to empathise with patients, sharing their hopes and fears. Yet one must be very cautious that empathy does not lead into a scientific blind alley.

    CAUTION I replaced the words "chronic fatigue syndrome" in the original with "Havana Syndrome".

    This is taken from Chronic fatigue in historical perspective. Edward Shorter.
    1993 Chronic Fatigue syndrome. Wiley, Chichester (Ciba Foundation Symposium 173) p6-22

    It must always be remembered that Shorter is a professor of social history and frequent writer of somewhat lurid books. Sometimes he utters sense, sometimes not.
     
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  9. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I will just bore you with a strange further early round of hysterical discussion in early ME debate. As you all know Slater gave a lecture in 1964, published in 1965, on Diagnosis of "hysteria". At the end of that year Walsh wrote a supposed rebuttal. As this included an oblique reference to Royal Free disease I assumed that this was a subtext in the discussion. This may have been incorrect.

    There was an intervening event-the Blackburn school "mass hysteria". I think that was in October. There must then have been articles in the Times and Telegraph linking this outbreak to Royal Free disease, because Ramsey very quickly wrote to the Lancet rebutting this suggestion, with cogent argument. It appears that Beard then supported McEvedy in his study of that outbreak, before they went on to co-author the papers which we all know and love. That Blackburn "mass hysteria" was very useful for some.

    Beard's obituary records that he had an extensive private practice. It would be interesting to know something of the nature of that practice.
     
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  10. leokitten

    leokitten Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  11. Theresa

    Theresa Established Member

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    andypants and rvallee like this.
  12. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I would guess it almost certainly does. The majority of diplomats are probably men and are therefore much more likely to be believed about anything medically related. And in fact, just being a diplomat makes them much more likely to be believed than most other adults, particularly female ones.

    And the idea that endometriosis is not hysterical in origin was (very slowly) gaining ground in the UK for a while but with the rise of MUS as the explanation for everything it is sinking back to being psychogenic again.
     
  13. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'd estimate that 99% of alleged cases of psychosomatic illness are misdiagnosed.

    It possibly exists but it's extremely rare. Unfortunately there is zero accountability or oversight and most psychosomatic diagnoses are merely implied, lazily labeled without any effort or due diligence.

    But despite well over a century of relentless efforts, it still hasn't been demonstrated so it's more likely that it doesn't exist at all, a mere tiny turtle all the way down into our ignorance.
     
  14. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The earlier outbreaks mostly impacted medical professionals so that's puzzling. I think that once someone is lumped into the "patients" camp they lose all credibility no matter who they were before and status has no impact.
     
  15. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Wow. I genuinely feel stupider for reading this. The lengths some people will go to justify their beliefs is really impressive. Assumptions built on assumptions and cemented by speculation and conjecture. What a word salad.
     
  16. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am finding it difficult to explain what I mean but medical professionals who became ill were felt by their colleagues as just not being up to it, basically losers who were not able to keep up the pace. The long hours as junior doctors and so on were almost an initiation rite if you see what I mean. I read about a doctor with undiagnosed MS who came up against that sort of attitude.

    The other thing is that it is one thing writing about diplomats but ME is so horrible, no treatment, no idea of what causes it so no way to take precautions to prevent it, that it must be much easier on the mind to believe someone doing the same job as you is psychologically weak (something you are not) rather than they have a devastating illness that could get you next.
     
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  17. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  18. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It seems to be pesticide poisoning.

     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  19. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So mass hysteria turns out to be organophosphate poisoning, who'd have thought it (sarcasm)
     
  20. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The psychiatrist involved in this study insists it's not mass hysteria

    The reasoning here is interesting because it suggests that normal human beings that receive ordinary medical investigations might get a mass hysteria diagnosis instead.

    Do you have to be from an upper socioeconomic background, part of a strong group and very resilient, with million dollar plus medical workups to escape a mass hysteria diagnosis?
     
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