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Hedonicity in functional motor disorders: a chemosensory study assessing taste, 2020, Cecchini

Discussion in 'Other psychosomatic news and research' started by Dolphin, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Hutan, Sean and Peter Trewhitt like this.
  2. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Ha! I saw it in my google search alerts and did not find it worth the trouble of posting. What incredible tripe.

    Forget the humors, it's the tastes now! Are you salty? Sour? What does it say about your health that you are clearly a sweet? Nobody knows but people will say a bunch of nonsense about it regardless! S C I E N C E.

    And what about the tasteless? Common with COVID to lose all taste. Are they dead inside? The anhedonic ones? Psychopathic killers in waiting or angels dancing on hairpins? Let's cross-reference your shakras with how attuned they are to your spirit energy, then crack open a Chinese cookie and build a nice narrative about it. Or whatever. Send money, this obviously deserves infinite funding for the next century or so.
    spinoza577, Hutan and alktipping like this.
  3. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    What is emotional valance?

    Found this:


    Just off the top of my head thinking, wouldn't there need to be an agreed on base or set point? My problem being that when reading this I found it funny because I've always been of a mind that this genre of research is chock full of 'cheer-leader' types of the overly positive variety. Only positive emotion is good and sick people are always way too negative.

    I admit to only skimming this so may be completely off the mark with how I understand this.
    spinoza577 and alktipping like this.
  4. Hutan

    Hutan Moderator Staff Member

    Hard to go past a paper with a title like that.

    But I haven't got to the taste bits yet, still stuck on the suggestions of the first paragraph.

    The paper starts off with a description of all the emotional processing inadequacies of people with functional motor disorders
    • often associated with psychiatric comorbidity, e.g., personality disorders and severe distress, disability, and social isolation
    • patients have been reported to show altered sensory processing (Morgante et al. 2018), ..., associated with abnormal identification of emotions and changes in emotion regulation strategies
    • Impairment of emotional processing was documented in patients with non-epileptic seizures (Nováková et al. 2015), and reduced positive emotional behavior to pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant pictures was reported in these patients
    • Indeed, alterations in neural circuits mediating emotional processing and perceptual awareness (Perez et al. 2015) and abnormal activity in the insula (Lehn et al. 2016) were reported in FMDs.
    • Patients with FMDs often have anxiety, depression, alexithymia, and/or affect dysfunction
    • These converging pieces of evidence suggest that abnormal interaction between sensory processing and emotional valence might represent a trait of FMDs.
    So, the foundation of the hypothesis of this study is that 'abnormal sensory and emotional processing'.

    The researchers assessed the 20 people with functional motor disorders (e.g. gait disturbances, leg tremors and weakness) and 24 controls for anxiety, depression and Alexithymia
    Of course these FMD people with their wide ranging emotional processing issues should look quite different to the controls.

    This is what they found: (you'd think the results might be worth a table, but this is all the data there is)
    So the average HARS score was 9.1 and the paper tells us that 8 to 14 is mild anxiety - so, at the lower end of mild anxiety, nearly normal. I wouldn't be surprised if most cohorts of people with significant chronic illness would look similar.

    The average depression score was 10.7 and the paper tells us that 8 to 17 is mild depressive symptoms. So again, at the lower end of mild depression, nearly normal. Pretty unremarkable for people whose bodies are chronically not doing what is expected of them I would have thought. Also, this measure is assessed by a clinician with an interview-based rating scale, so plenty of room for bias.

    Alexithymia - the capacity to identify and describe feelings
    The average TAS-score was 48.9 (plus or minus 12). The paper doesn't actually tell us what the normal values for this instrument are, or tell us what the controls scored. But, I remember this paper that reported an average TAS value for a normal Japanese cohort of 48. 48 (plus or minus 9)!
    The longitudinal effects of seated isometric yoga on blood biomarkers, autonomic functions, & psychological parameters of [PwCFS], 2019, Oka et al

    So, this cohort of people with a range of 'functional motor disorders' looked perfectly normal for a group of people with chronic illness; with alexithymia scores that are perfectly normal for 'normal' people.

    Now, this is quite a finding - all those previous studies have found that people with FMD have emotional processing issues and this study doesn't. Surely this is worth some exclamation, or even just a comment? But, no. The paper says nowhere (I think) that these people had normal alexithymia. There's no discussion of how that might affect their underlying hypothesis of sensory and emotional processing being faulty in FMD.

    And - they found no relationship between taste perception and anxiety, depression and alexithymia.

    So, with the underlying hypothesis of linked abnormal emotional and sensory processing being a bit shot to pieces, the idea of checking if people with FMD have normal taste perception looks a bit random. But whatever, it sounds like a fun and cheap experiment.

    The statements in the discussion reach way beyond what they actually found.

    Yeah, so I didn't even get to the hedonic bit.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
    spinoza577, Amw66, rvallee and 7 others like this.
  5. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    spinoza577 likes this.
  6. spinoza577

    spinoza577 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Incredible helpful, such effort.
  7. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Ah, that's just salty talk. Don't be a sourpuss. Gotta turn up that sweet attitude. Or you'll just end up bitter. Be kind to your umami.

    Now hopefully similar stuff doesn't actually turn up being said seriously by someone. Which I assume it will, with a budget of $3M by a Crawley-Chalder super-duo of fundraising-for-useless-things.

    (Seriously though did they actually just forget umami?)
    Trish likes this.
  8. spinoza577

    spinoza577 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Thank you for helping me up, @rvallee.

    I had forgotten to drink anything and was a bit dry at time of posting.
    rvallee likes this.

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