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Systematic review of randomized controlled trials for (CFS/ME) - Do-Young Kim et al Jan 2020

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Sly Saint, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Systematic review of randomized controlled trials for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)

    full paper
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
    Mij, Hutan, Michelle and 13 others like this.
  2. wdb

    wdb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Contrary to the positive outcomes in the 1990s and 2000s, more recent CBT trials have failed to show consistent benefits in patients with CFS/ME: 5 of 7 RCTs of CBT did not show significant effects...

    In our data, 4 of 5 RCTs with graded-exercise-related therapies presented positive outcomes; however, the clinical usefulness of GET is highly controversial [88]. One survey reported that 79% of CFS/ME participants felt that GET worsened their health status [89]. Furthermore, GET was criticized due to the conflict with PEM, a particularly essential symptom of CFS/ME according to the IOM diagnostic criteria [90]. Both CBT and GET have limitations and have received criticism more recently because they are based on psychiatric views, which is contrary to the fact that CFS/ME is a physical illness based on accumulated evidence from scientists as well as patients and physicians [1].
  3. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    How many of these are actually randomized and controlled trials?
    MEMarge, Ravn, rvallee and 1 other person like this.
  4. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There is no value in this sort of review. There have not been enough (any!) proper Rcts to do a systematic review.

    It is the wrong place to look for any interesting data and looks like something made up to get a grant rather than anything done for the benefit of patients.
    Mij, alktipping, MEMarge and 7 others like this.
  5. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've not read this paper yet, but a careful systematic review pointing out all the problems with the research in this area would be valuable.

    Systematic reviews have real political power and leaving them to just those trying to promote CBT/GET would do real harm.
    alktipping, Hutan, Mithriel and 6 others like this.
  6. Marky

    Marky Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I agree, seems like exactly the kind of systematic reviews that are needed. I agree with Mithriel however that its pointless to investigate intervention efficacy (when its not criticism)
    Mij, alktipping, Ravn and 1 other person like this.
  7. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't see the point of restricting to trials that focused only on fatigue, this obsessive focus over the one symptom is a major part of the problem. There is also the problem of pretending many of those trials are controlled, when only the drug tests were controlled and many weren't because the side-effects are too obvious. Giving the label of RCT to non-controlled trials is itself extremely problematic. They're open label randomized trials, say it. Giving credibility to P values is frankly a bit insulting, like giving guesstimates 5 significant decimals, should not be taken as reliable, psychometric questionnaires are not at all reliable.

    Even PACE describes itself as a randomized trial, basically the only thing it can be credited for. And actually, looking at the table of non-pharma interventions, it looks like PACE was excluded. Which is fair, though all the other non-pharma trials are not controlled either so that's weird. Would have been nice to look at trial pre-registration and how common it is to deviate from.

    I think this is the reason PACE was excluded:
    But none of the non-pharma ones actually meet that threshold without being over-generous.

    But overall it's a fine review in that the reliability of evidence is extremely poor and so conclusions over this evidence cannot be better than what goes in. The simple truth is that there is nothing reliable after 3 decades of "research" and 2 decades in practice. This alone should upend everything, it's madness that medicine continues to pretend there is anything there. But it would upend the BPS model and expose many institutions' failure in protecting a vulnerable population.

    At least this is a much more honest review than the Cochrane ones. Much less biased as well, by the simple fact that primary researchers in some of those trials were not involved in the review. Without the layer of varnish, a polished turd is just that, a turd, and the body of evidence is generally a giant pile of that.
    Hutan, MEMarge, JohnM and 4 others like this.
  8. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So there have been more RCT's on non-pharmacological interventions than on pharmacological interventions (even though the latter includes nutrients and homeopathy).

    And the most common type of pharmacological intervention tested is psychiatric drugs. Another five trials looked at the stress hormone cortisol. Both interventions don't help in treating ME/CFS.

    Some immunomodulators were tested but these trials are old. With the exception of the rituximab trial, there have been so little RCT's in recent years that tried to treat this illness. Practically none, really.

    The result is that in 2020 there's no treatment for ME/CFS, nothing that relieves the constant exhaustion or disability that tortures millions of patients. I myself have been severely disabled because of ME/CFS for more than 10 years and there's nothing doctors can do to relieve the suffering, not even a little bit.

    I can't help but think that a focus on a psychiatric aetiology and the fear-avoidance model has wasted precious time and resources to get a to treatment for ME/CFS that actually works.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
    Hutan, Simone, Snow Leopard and 10 others like this.
  9. Ravn

    Ravn Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    And were any of those old pharmacological treatment trials ever replicated? A couple of them had at least somewhat positive findings.

    On a less serious note, I looked up the reference for the Tuina study because I wanted to know what Tuina was - an unpleasant sounding abdominal massage, apparently. But it got better: that Tuina paper then referred to something called "intelligent-turtle massage"! Now, due to my complete ignorance on the topic I have no opinion of any sort about traditional Chinese medicine but it sure has more linguistic creativity than Western medicine.
    Mij, alktipping, Michelle and 3 others like this.

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