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Impact of Q-fever fatigue syndrome on patients’ work status, 2020, Reukers et al

Discussion in 'PsychoSocial ME/CFS Research' started by Dolphin, Oct 24, 2020.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Free full text:
    https://academic.oup.com/occmed/advance-article/doi/10.1093/occmed/kqaa166/5929827

    Impact of Q-fever fatigue syndrome on patients’ work status

    D F M Reukers, J A F van Loenhout, I Roof, T F Senden, S P Keijmel, C P Bleeker-Rovers, C H M van Jaarsveld, J L A Hautvast, K van der Velden

    https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqaa166
    Published:

    19 October 2020


    https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqaa166
    Published:

    19 October 2020

    Issue Section:
    Original Paper

     
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  2. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is possible that work leads to better health outcomes in the general population. However, that doesn't necessarily mean the same applies in a CFS-like condition like this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
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  3. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    I actually had a look at this claim they made. They support it with one study, which is this metanalysis. The metanalysis reports 3 studies that showed that measures of subjective and/or objective physical health are reliably lower in those who are unemployed vs., those that are employed (no surprise there). There was also one study showing that subjective reports of physical health are lower in the long-term unemployed than in short-term unemployed (no surprise there either). The authors acknowledge that correlation does not equal causation.

    There were no studies in the metanalysis supporting the specific causal claim the authors make that "participation in work leads to better health outcomes".

    I sometimes feel its so hopeless, the sloppiness and stupidity of the people that our society places in the role of "researcher". Honestly, a good proportion of ordinary people would spot the problem here, why do we let these idiots run the place?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
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  4. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Would it be possible for you to write a letter to the journal challenging that false claim, and also questioning the assumption that rehab that leads to return to work is possible.

    This is the sort of nonsensical deduction that gives government disability/unemployment funding agencies the excuse not to support people in this situation.
     
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  5. leokitten

    leokitten Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Plus what is the difference between QFS and ME/CFS. After years go by being sick there is none and it just serves to silo everyone and generate less research money for ME/CFS.

    It’s the same argument I’ve made about post COVID, post SARS, post Giardia, post Ebola, post Lyme, etc. Just because there are unique long-term sequelae specific to each initial infection, many if not most patients in each group all share ME/CFS hallmark symptoms and have ME/CFS.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
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  6. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Medicine has a serious case of the over-Excels. Most of this is just fiddling with a small bit of data. This kind of study is useful in simply asking about work status but there is just too much mathemagics involved here, tweaking knobs the right way to get the pattern they want to emerge. The obsession over "getting people back to work" is seriously unhealthy, all based on assumptions about people who are free of significant illness, usually mixing correlation as some causative thing.

    Sick people work less because they are sick. People who can't understand how this causality works out are seriously in the wrong profession if they can't integrate reality to fit with their prejudices.
     
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  7. leokitten

    leokitten Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @rvallee I like play on words “mathemagics”, never heard it!
     
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  8. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I thought it was more commonly used but most results are for an anime. Oh well.

    Torture your data long enough and it will confess to having killed JFK. Just like that. "Magic".
     
  9. leokitten

    leokitten Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A common and similar phrase that’s used in life sciences is p-hacking
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
  10. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    But in this instance, its none of these more elaborate things, it just plain old logical failure.

    Its not just any logical failure. If you pointed these authors to data showing that the risk of death is higher for those admitted to hospital than those in the community, I don't think they'd be stupid enough to conclude that "hospital admission leads to mortality". They'd see the reverse causation problem right away.

    The closest thing that has been documented in the thinking and reasoning literature is belief bias, which wikipedia defines as "the tendency to judge the strength of arguments based on the plausibility of their conclusion rather than how strongly they support that conclusion." There are quite a few studies from the 1980s demonstrating this reasoning error. The conventional explanation is that logical reasoning is resource-intensive for humans, so we engage in it only when the conditions warrant it (that is, a conclusion or statement seems dodgy to us).

    But one would like to think that researchers and other professional intellectuals are trained to not take those kinds of shortcuts. Surely, they get paid not to take those shortcuts.
     
  11. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, the journal is Occupational Medicine. It would be like writing a letter to the Journal of Homeopathy pointing out that water doesn't have memory.
     
  12. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is the grim reality of academic journals that I'm not sure I'm capable of coming to terms with.
     
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