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Neurasthenia: tracing the journey of a protean malady, 2020, Bhola and Chaturvedi

Discussion in 'Psychosomatic research - ME/CFS and Long Covid' started by Andy, May 8, 2020.

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  1. Andy

    Andy Committee Member

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    Paywall, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09540261.2020.1758638
    Sci hub, https://sci-hub.tw/https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09540261.2020.1758638
     
  2. cassava7

    cassava7 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Are they saying people are going to self-diagnose with "nervous fatigue syndromes" because they can now research their symptoms on Internet without the avail of a medical doctor? Or are they saying that you can get burnt out from social media etc?

    In the former case, well, yes, I can go to the ME/CFS page on the CDC website and check if my symptoms match. I can also download diagnosis criteria for fibromyalgia online. I can now bring these good quality, helpful resources to my doctor or a specialist to see if they would diagnose me with either condition. But I'm certainly not self-diagnosing. :banghead:
     
  3. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Neurasthenia was thought to be caused by the experience of "modern living" in the cities of the 1800s which people were thought to be bad for the nerves. This was particularly true of the delicate physiologies of women who were often not allowed to read newspapers in case it overloaded their brains.

    They are saying here that the new modern technologies will have the same damaging effects on weak minds that are not robust enough to cope.
     
  4. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  5. Webdog

    Webdog Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    UpToDate still tells doctors that neurasthenia is a historical term for ME/CFS, in an entry about ME/CFS written by Gluckman and edited by Komaroff.
     
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  6. cassava7

    cassava7 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A few weeks ago I remember discussing the ICD-10 description of neurasthenia with someone who has ME. From https://icd.who.int/browse10/2019/en#/F48.0, bolding mine:
    We were worried that a doctor who has no knowledge of ME might diagnose neurasthenia -- according to this description -- for patients with ME who haven't received a diagnosis yet. There are a few differences:

    - the "two main types" of neurasthenia are respectively mental and physical, whereas in ME, both neurological/cognitive and physical symptoms are present
    - "exhaustion after only minimal effort" doesn't mean *prolonged* exhaustion that comes from PEM, and other common PEM symptoms aren't mentioned (e.g. flu-like symptoms);
    - "unpleasant intrusion of distracting associations or recollections", anhedonia, and, more generally, primary mental components of neurasthenia are not symptoms of ME

    But these differences might be too subtle for a doctor/GP/psychiatrist who is not very interested in listening to a patient, especially if they're trigger-happy with diagnosing "medically unexplained symptoms"...

    Anyway, I think that "somatic functional syndrome" and other flavors of this term are preferred in psychiatry nowadays because there is less history/stigma attached to them than the old "neurasthenia".
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  7. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Old wine in old bottles?
     
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  8. Obermann

    Obermann Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Neurasthenia is an obsolete concept. George Beard introduced the term in an article in 1869. He never tried to define a group of patients described by certain signs or symptoms, but instead started with a presumed illness mechanism: nerve weakness. It was a parallell to anemia, which "is to the vascular system what neurasthenia is to the nervous." Beard then associated the presumed neural weakness with many different diffuse symptoms. As there neither is scientific support for the presumed illness mechanism nor a well-defined clinical presentation of the condition, the diagnostic label neurasthenia does not define a meaningful clinical entity.
     
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  9. spinoza577

    spinoza577 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So far I can´t see that there is anything wrong with such a guess. No psychology included.

    Yes, this is completely logical. Nerves are key in movable organisms.

    So there hadn´t occured any substantial progress since 160 years. Not even a surprise, but "interesting" that some researcher (special kind of them) are not willing to admit that there is rather still small knowledge.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
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  10. Obermann

    Obermann Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There is nothing wrong with hypothesizing an illness mechanism. However, if the proposed mechanism doesn't hold up and the proposed symptoms don't define a clearly distinguishable group of patients, there is nothing that connects the patients with those symptoms. Therefore, it isn't meaningful to use the label neurasthenia in diagnostics anymore.

    I should add that I generally think it is a bad idea to base diagnostics on a hypothesis. When the underlying illness mechanisms are unknown, diagnostics should be based on patterns in signs, symptoms, and illness trajectory. The lack of understanding should also be clearly acknowledged.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  11. spinoza577

    spinoza577 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Honestly I don´t know much about the historical label "neurasthenia" and its implications as they - in fact and possibly strangely - may have been made.

    The term though is Greek and means "nerve-weakness". I cannot agree that this isn´t meaningful, as I cannot agree that any therm that refers to a dysfunction of nerves is, e.g. "FND".

    Another question is the further interpretation ...

    And this is rather the problem. When today some researchers say that there has been an old attempt that would have been sadly abandoned, they want to reestablish a certain interpretation, conveying that all the effort for biological determinations have failed so far ... despite the fact that luckily this bold guess "conversion disorder" has been abandoned only recently.

    These guys are awkward.


    But therefore it is even more important to hold to that momentums that might be true.

    I agree certainly with the last sentence. Otherwise,

    symptoms may differ a lot, e.g. in ME/CFS. Maybe it´s even not one illness.

    Or maybe all really possible FND´s originate in the same area and could be healed by the same treatment (or by the same range of treatments).

    Nobody knows.


    So, I would be cautious to discard attempts only because they are currently made by people who behave like idiots or sadists.

    Accordingly, the problem may not be a diagnosis which is in fact based on a kind of uncertainty, but the underlying assumed treatment based on any wishful thinking.

    In fact, as there is a need for classification (attempt to understand), there may be currently no better one than to say that there may be some dysfunction.

    So I think, Beard may have corrected his interpretation ("caused by civilization"), but Freud would have completely lost his approach (because he wanted to overcome an - admittedly - wide term by particular - but speculative - interpretations).
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
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  12. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Old piss, is more like it.
     
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