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More evidence of bias is psych research. Telegraph article on meditation

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by JemPD, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  2. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I like these quotes from the article:
     
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  3. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ahh well... another technique I can't use to improve my dysfunctional personality...I wonder what the science media centre has to say on the matter?
     
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  4. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A bit weird without a defintion of compassion (internal or external? what type of compassion), the idea that meditation is for a specific purpose is strange to my understanding of it, and the idea that volunteering for a charity is a way to show compassion is massively narrow too.

    Of course if meditation alone greatly improved external compassion, then things like the Japanese culture around the 1940's would not have happened.

    People can also be aware of things and not compassionate about them at the same time.

    I rate idea behind the initial studies and the article as not proven :)
     
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  5. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ah, but this work was not done on CFS subjects as defined by the Oxford criteria by skilled researchers who employ those internationally recognised scientific tools such as outcome switching and redefining recovery. Surely they would have had much better outcomes if they had chosen the right researchers.

    (Sorry I did not actually read the article as I try to avoid giving any clicks to the Telegraph, but then not responding to the facts of the case is also part of one proud tradition of scientific research.)
     
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  6. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In Buddhism there is a major tradition of meditation techniques designed to develop specific personality traits, the most common being 'metta' that is variously translated as loving kindness or compassion. We generally think of the mindfulness techniques, such as focusing on the breath or on an object such as a candle as meditation, however they are only a part of meditation within either classical yoga or traditional Buddhism. However both within both Hindu Yoga traditions or Buddhism meditation is part of a much larger ethical and behavioural code, whereas modern practitioners are looking to package and market very specific and descrete components in the west. It would be hard to encapsulate these very broad definitions meaningfully into simple experimental measures.

    (Perhaps what follows is an irrelevant rant.)

    I have not looked at the research on meditation for many years but it was very simplistic. My favourite was that presented by TM (Transcendal Meditation) where they claimed that their technique produced specific phisological change that resulted in 'improvements' in your personality. However they never talked about the starting point, and if your started in the wrong place the claims they made for meditation would give you the physiological responses of a psychopath.

    Also what is never mentioned that in classical Yoga there are important contra indications for meditation, the main one being 'mental health' problems. Though I can not be certain because of the lack of equivalent terms I suspect the 'mental health' problems intended included what we would regard as psychotic conditions such schizophrenia. I am aware of anecdotal evidence of meditation triggering significant mental health problems.

    I would not want to discourage anyone interested in meditation from seeking to find out more or to assert that it would never be useful for people looking to develop coping strategies, but people should be very wary of the research claims and of attempting meditation techniques with out the support of an experienced practitioner where there is potentially any mental health issues.

    I suspect mindfulness is a bit like CBT, a potentially useful tool that has become over used without an adequate evidence base and employed by technicians without a broader training or experience to understand its limitations and dangers.

    In relation to ME, personally I use mindfulness as a way to help cope with pain and to cope with when not sleeping, but also I suspect that for some meditation techniques can trigger or exacerbate sleep problems or result in them becoming more focused on pain.

    (Edited to correct some of my typos.)
     
  7. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thoroughly agree Peter. Personally i am a fan of what i have been taught to be mindfulness meditation, for the reasons you share. But unfortunately 'mindfulness' has become a fashionable word & is now used to describe all kinds of things which seem utterly contrary to everything i have learned about it, so it's a challenge to know whether everyone is talking about the same thing when they say 'mindfulness meditation', in a similar way to when people talk about 'CF' - they might mean ME they might mean TATT they might mean all kinds of things.

    When I posted the article i was really just thinking about how the whole 'methodological flaws suggesting bias' problem, is & i suspect always has been, running rampant in psychological research.
     
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  8. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks for that Peter.

    I suspect part of the reason for the rise of 'Mindfulness' is that it is cheaper than therapy, just bung the client a mp3 of a body scan mediation and a breathing one, tell them a out a book, and out the door with them.

    Do you think there is a big difference between having a teacher and having a soundfile? I suppose a good teacher would be able to step in and help when things start to go wrong or become confusing.

    I found it useful to learn to observe my thoughts without reacting to them, good, bad or indifferent.

    It's not just me then :)

    I think of mindfulness as a type of 'now-ness' with non-judgment, yet I hear it being used in all kinds of weird ways. I don't even know how CBT mindfulness is supposed to work? Change your thoughts while at the same time do not change your thoughts? :p

    The part about compassion not being defined was confusing to me as 'compassion' was/is the supposed basis for some of the greatest crimes of the UK. It was used as an excuse to murder millions of people. Iain Duncan Smith was supposedly inspired by compassion, yet I don't think many of the receiving end would thank him for his contributions.
     
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  9. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Oh how true that is :rolleyes:. The awareness can potentially allow focus on what to be uncompassionate about.
     
  10. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think you're right! I also think that with some 'therapy' that might be a lucky escape for some people.

    Yes same for me. with my feelings too. Observing 'i am anxious' without that being a big deal or something to get worked up about. softening towards uncomfortable feelings, just allowing them to be there without judgement, not deeming (eg) anger/fear/whatever to be a bad thing/a thing to change, just observing it without judgement.

    I know! That was my thought exactly.... when someone was telling me about this "mindfulness training" she'd been on at work, it sounded nothing like mindfulness it was all about identifying and changing negative emotions - well how can you observe something non judgementally while also judging it as negative & trying to change it?!

    Seems like people are appropriating the word for their own ends. Rather like IDS with his 'compassion' as you say, & the BPSers with their 'care' & 'treatment'.

    well one can call cruelty compassion, & manipulation/abuse 'treatment' if one wants to... but it wont change what they are.
     
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  11. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just before it was announced that there would be no annual pay rise for the nth time in a row? I swear these things are used to quell worker rebellions. (or invented just to break my brain)

    Guess mindfulness does not decrease cynicism :p

    :emoji_thinking: Maybe it's an elaborate real world organic Koan generating machine!
     
  12. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Having gone through this process, I agree that observing my thoughts without reacting to them was useful to learn. I can't often do it but it's an aim.

    What still annoys me though is that the mp3s have tings in the middle which go off just as I'm falling into beautiful sleep. I know the point is not to sleep but observe, but sleep is so elusive that all possible aids are used..........and then there's a ting....
     
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  13. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    If I remember correctly, the resources here are free from price and 'ting'ness Binkie :)
     
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  14. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks @Luther.
    The self guided ones at the end have 'tings' so are to be avoided for my purposes but the others will increase my choice. Thank you.

    Perhaps a sitting meditation tonight. I'll need to check out the accents.
     
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  15. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think Youtube might be a decent place to search as well. If you (or anyone) need help in getting an mp3 of a video, let me know.
     
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  16. Cheshire

    Cheshire Moderator Staff Member

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    On a related subject:
    Prescribing Mindfulness Allows Doctors to Ignore Legitimate Female Pain

    This trend offloads the responsibility of care from the medical system to the woman. And its efficacy is questionable at best.
    https://slate.com/technology/2018/0...ing-mindfulness-on-chronic-pain-patients.html

     
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  17. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    That's a really good article, @Cheshire. It spells out clearly how mindfulness is being used to palm off pain sufferers and effectively leave them uninvestigated and untreated and being blamed if it doesn't work. Just like CBT with ME and MUS.
     
  18. Indigophoton

    Indigophoton Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    If you've got a smartphone, the Insight Timer app is quite good - free, no ads, and you can set your own timer with assorted tings or not, as you prefer, including no end ting if you like.

    (It also has lots of guided mindfulness meditations).
     
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  19. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Catalogue of Bias

    catalogofbias.org

    a University of Oxford initiative......
    unsurprisingly PACE does not seem to feature

    https://catalogofbias.org/about/

    eta:
    CEBM Catalogue of Bias
    @Catalogofbias
    An annotated catalogue of biases in health research from the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in tribute to David Sackett http://www.catalogofbias.org
     
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  20. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Typical. Richard Horton said he thinks maybe half of all published literature is too flawed to be valid. Just not his, not the stuff he publishes, though, it's always others who are wrong. Even though I have no doubt he fully understands PACE is a load of garbage but doesn't think it's relevant anyway because, you know, "there is no disease".

    The problems are deep, lots of sunk cost, escalation of commitment. In the end, people willingly say the whole system is wrong but individual actors will always defend the stuff they believe in as being on the right side.
     
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