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Increase in prefrontal cortical volume following cognitive behavioural therapy in patients with CFS, 2008, de Lange et al

Discussion in 'PsychoSocial ME/CFS Research' started by Andy, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. Andy

    Andy Committee Member & Outreach

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    An old study but, as shown in this thread, https://s4me.info/threads/top-10-sc...f-citations-tweet-by-dr-mark-gutheridge.7461/, one of the most cited ME/CFS papers in the past 10 years, so thought it might be useful to have here.

    Open access at https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/131/8/2172/267610
     
  2. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective behavioural intervention for CFS, which combines a rehabilitative approach of a graded increase in physical activity with a psychological approach that addresses thoughts and beliefs about CFS which may impair recovery."

    Interesting that they define the PACE style CBT for CFS (although this was before the PACE trial results).

    Might be a good quote for the people on the NICE committee, or anyone else wishing to point out that CFS-CBT is not standard CBT and that it includes GET as part of its protocol.
     
  3. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "Another limitation of this study is that we did not compare CFS patients treated with CBT with CFS patients that did not undergo CBT treatment. Therefore, we cannot exclude that the cerebral alterations are due to non-specific factors other than the CBT treatment. However, the specific effectivity of CBT, compared to other treatments, has been well-established earlier (Prins et al., 2001; Whiting et al., 2001; Edmonds et al., 2004; Stulemeijer et al., 2005), suggesting that the behavioural effects are likely to be the result of CBT, rather than other unspecific factors."
     
  4. Tom Kindlon

    Tom Kindlon Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Two letters were published in reply. Both are open access:

    Can CBT substantially change grey matter volume in chronic fatigue syndrome?

    Inge Bramsen
    Brain, Volume 132, Issue 6, 1 June 2009, Pages e110, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awn207
    Published:
    29 August 2008
    https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/132/6/e110/322958


    Change in grey matter volume cannot be assumed to be due to cognitive behavioural therapy
    Tom Kindlon
    Brain, Volume 132, Issue 7, 1 July 2009, Pages e119, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awn358
    https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/132/7/e119/324121?searchresult=1
     
    EzzieD, rvallee, MEMarge and 11 others like this.
  5. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is a horibble study.

    The authors didn’t use a control group so it could be that the changes in grey matter volume (GMV) were due to fluctuations in the disease process or the fact that patients were receiving treatment - that is attention and care from healthcare professionals – not CBT per se.

    The changes were really small. The authors report this rather deceitfully by saying that the initial differences in GMV between ME/CFS patients and healthy controls decreased by 12%. The figure of 12% sounds impressive but that’s only because it applies to initial small differences. The initial differences in GMV between patients and controls were about 5,5% and they decreased to around 4,8% - that sounds a lot less impressive.

    The actual, absolute increase was 4,7 ml (from 669.4 to 674.1 ml) or 0,7%. In comparison: the white matter volume decreased with 0,34%. Anyone looking at these figures honestly, would doubt that these figures represent a clinically meaningful change. The figure of 0,7% that reflects the absolute increase in GMV, is never mentioned in the paper – you have to calculate it from the figures in the table. So very deceitful reporting.

    The authors are also not able to propose a credible mechanism how CBT could lead to an increase in GMV. They speculate about neuronal down-regulation due to environmental impoverishment, which CBT is supposed to change, and refer to studies performed on caged rodents and primates.... Yet the 22 ME/CFS patients receiving CBT did not increase their activity level by a significant degree and there was no significant correlation between increase in activity and the increase in GMV. There are other problems with the paper, but really it seems useless discussing these after so many flaws...

    Inge Bramsen wrote how the authors have promoted their findings with false claims
    So it's very sad to hear that this is one of the most cited papers on ME/CFS in the last ten years. It really makes me lose trust in the current scientific process... So much prejudice, so little critical thinking.
     
  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That's what I thought on seeing Gutherdige's chart. This study, and the responses from Kindlon and Bramsen, were some of the first things I read when I started looking more seriously at CFS research. It never occurred to me that this would go on to be one of the most widely cited CFS studies of the decade. Grim.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
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  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Was just reading the author's response to Bramsen... it's pretty irritating: https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/132/6/e111/322964

    Probably should be posting it as no-one will do anything about it now other than get frustrated... gah!
     
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