August 21, 2011

"I published a study which these extremists did not like and was subjected to a staggering volley of horrible abuse."

"One man wrote he was having pleasure imagining that he was watching me drown. He sent that every day for months."

Says one of the scientists who have been targeted for entertaining the possibility that chronic fatigue syndrome is partly psychological.

Threatening scientists is an even worse technique here than in the usual situation. It's self-contradictory.  If you want people to believe that you are not at all responsible for your extreme lethargy, you shouldn't rev into action when some suggests that your mind is part of the problem.

74 comments:

edutcher said...

I can believe quite easily that depression could have a role in something like that, becoming something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That said, they have some very strange people in England these days, but we've already had lots of evidence of that.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Do not come between addicts and their drugs. It'll always get ugly.

Jon said...

should be "partly" psychological not "party"

Unknown said...

Fibromyalgia is another condition that is very controversial and somewhat similar although it is mostly vague pain and weakness instead of lethargy. The victims are very militant that it is not psychological although anti-depressants are the most effective treatment known.

Automatic_Wing said...

In fairness, with today's computer technology, sending threatening notes isn't as much work as it used to be. It's not like you need to collect a bunch of newspapers and cut out individual letters anymore.

Gabriel Hanna said...

"Chronic Lyme" sufferers and the anti-vaccine movement do the same things.

A trend that has recently disgusted me: there are social conservatives who are angered that Rick Perry was responsible for making Gardasil vaccinations available to 12-year-old girls, with an opt-out provision for parents who objected. And these conservatives are citing the anti-vaccination groups for evidence that Gardasil is "unsafe".

But it's a deception. They don;t really think Gardasil is unsafe, but they don't want to come out and say that the root of their objection is their perception that giving young girls a vaccine for an STD somehow encourages them to have sex. They don't want to rely solely on this argument. So they peddle the lies of the anti-vaxers.

Yes, I know there are other grounds on which you could oppose Gardasil vaccinations. But this is the argument I'm reading from conservative pundits like this one.

"two years later the National Vaccine Information Center issued a report raising serious questions over the harmful side effects of the drug."

The National Vaccine Information Center is an anti-vaccination lobbying group. They claim virtually every vaccine is unacceptably unsafe.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Jon. Fixed.

HKatz said...

when some suggests that your mind is part of the problem.
I love the irony, but scientists would argue against a strict body/mind distinction anyway. Every psychological reaction you have is based on something going on in your brain; and the things you do and the choices you make also feed back into it. It's very hard to trace the root of what's going on in the brain - when it comes down to it, what does it mean when you say "it's all in your head"? And psychiatric meds don't work all the time for all people. The scientists are trying to respect that complexity.

The virus explanation is more appealing because they can just say they're passive hosts (even though surviving a virus and fighting it off can maybe also be linked to psychological factors...)

"One man wrote he was having pleasure imagining that he was watching me drown. He sent that every day for months."
The ones threatening death... I don't think they have chronic fatigue syndrome. They have a monomania.

People are going to fight for their version of victimhood too. The great memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus got many death threats after publishing work undermining the claim of repressed memories. People who have wasted years of their life or have hurt their own and other people's lives don't want to hear that it might be all for nothing and without good reason.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@HKatz:love the irony, but scientists would argue against a strict body/mind distinction anyway. Every psychological reaction you have is based on something going on in your brain; and the things you do and the choices you make also feed back into it.

Very true. Vitamin deficiencies, for example, affect your mental functioning. And we've all been tired or drunk.

gbarto said...

I think that part of the problem is that for some, psychological means not real. That goes both for the "people should just tough things out" crowd and for people who want their illness validated and don't understand that even if it's all in your head, it's still your reality so it's still both worthwhile and necessary to do something about it - and I don't mean the old school New Agers' " a stiff upper lip cures all" nonsense, which is as foolish as "a positive attitude cures all."

If CFS is partly psychological, it doesn't mean it's not real, just that ideal treatment paths may include psychopharmaceuticals.

bagoh20 said...

"He sent that everyday for months."

Well, that guy is cured. He sounds like a motivated salesman. Go get em tiger!

DADvocate said...

I'm so tired of the chronic fatigue debate. Time for a nap.

bagoh20 said...

""You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"

Carol_Herman said...

Parasites.

Nothing new.

Just an obvious target way brigher than the putz with access to SPAMMING people.

It's not even worth the reverse engineering ...

But sure. Universities all have "special" addresses. You can reach a host of people who wouldn't give you the time of day. Just by plugging in "edu."

somefeller said...

I'm surprised that chronically lethargic people could muster up the energy to unleash such attacks. One wonders how dangerous they would be at full strength.

ricpic said...

Yeah, but a stiff upper lip does cure all, gbarto. Cure as in overcome.

rhhardin said...

Lethargy is a choice.

Youngblood said...

"[T]hey have some very strange people in England these days."

It's not just England, apparently. In the article, it notes that one scientist abandoned collaboration with American scientists after receiving death threats.

"In fairness, with today's computer technology, sending threatening notes isn't as much work as it used to be."

No, you're right; it's not as much work. The deluge has been so great that many police forces either ignore them entirely or do the bare minimum of investigation. (Look at the case of Jared Loughner.)

Personally, I think that they should take a few people who send death threats and throw the book at them.

With that being said, the article doesn't just cite death threats. One scientist got punched in the face by an extremist, while another was stalked by a knife-wielding woman.

Hagar said...

I suspect there are a number of different kinds of "chronic fatigue syndrome" with different causes.

It is a very debiltating condition to be suffering from, and it is extremely frustrating to have the medical wallahs just shake their heads and tell you they don't have a clue. And it really gets bad if you get the "it's all in your head" treatment, or think that that's what you are getting. Doctors are notoriously reluctant to admit there are things they don't know about and can't fix.

jr565 said...

Ive suffered through fibro/CFS for an extended period of time, so definitely think it's a real thing. But it's not a disease unto itself, but rather a symptom of disease.
A lot of doctors think it's actually a sleep disorder, and there seems to be some truth to that, as many sufferers of CFS also either are insomniacs or don't get adequate deep sleep. Which I'm sure will impact on your brain chemistry.
Then there are the viral components. A lot of people have things like Lyme disease, or EBV or various herpes viruses which have become activated. Then there are various hormonal problems, like adrenal or thyroid issues, or vitamin deficiencies, or even allergies, all of which contribute to the CFS.
One other aspect that lends itself to the psycological cause is one I happen to agree with. Namely, your amygdyla is not acting properly and is too responsive to stressors. There may have been something that started the cycle initially, like a virus, but what perpetuates the problem is not the virus, which may not even be active in the body anymore, but your amygdylas response to perceived pain in the body, which creates an exhausting cycle whereby your amygdyla basically responds to perceived threats based on pain in the body, but which are actually perpetuated by the. Amygdylas inappropriate response to what it perceives as threat. Which is in fact a psychological response, and not a physical one.
So, I wouldn't say he's totally right, but he's not totally wrong either.

rhhardin said...

"But does not indolence, a refusal in face of action, an impossibility of beginning, refer to inaction itself as a state? Lying torpid in our bed, refusing any action, do we not realize indolence as a positive event, in the happinss of being shup up in our own shell? Is not indolence the pleasure of spending the morning in bed?

...The injunction 'we must try to live'...runs though [indolence] like a malaise and makes the relationship with existence and with action palpable in the heart of softest indolence. Indolence makes one prostrate, idleness weighs us down, afflicts us with boredom. The man who gives himself over to pleasure, entertainment and distraction is fleeing indolence as much as work."

Levinas _Existence and Existents_ p.28

coketown said...

Two common half-jokes I hear from people in the medical profession are: chronic fatigue syndrome is for nutjobs (remember the Golden Girls episodes where Dorothy has chronic fatigue syndrome and everyone just thinks she's crazy? Then she tells her doctor off in a nice restaurant and it's supposed to be empowering.), and fibro myalgia is a symptom of morphine addiction.

Doctors can be pretty callous sometimes.

SunnyJ said...

Or the reverse: the medical world fights the chornic and reoccurence of Lymes Disease the same way it fought the diagnosis of Lymes for years...and eventually it spread throughout the USA.

Whatever happened to scientific inquery for the sake of inquery...and where did "settled science" every come from? Since nothing has every proven to be settled, and is always changing, adapting, compensating, mutating etc.

Why are we always so firmly grasping on denial, when initial inidcators start to tell us something is happening? Everyone jumps on a "side" and starts to duke it out, instead of enjoying the inquery and rejoicing in the data, especially that data that conflicts!

Question boldly, speak freely and enjoy the debate to it's fullest...there ain't nothing settled bucko!

Gabriel Hanna said...

And SunnyJ, right on cue, spouts the nutters' favorite talking point: they said Galileo was crazy, and he was right, and they say I'm crazy so I must be right.

They laughed at Galileo, yes, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

Rich Rostrom said...

This scientist has discovered the danger of exploring possible facts which if true would tend to support or correlate with previous serious errors and abuses.

When people have endured such abuses and struggled to stop them, they become hypersensitive to anything which appears to support what they had to fight.

jr565 said...

Gabriel wrote:
And SunnyJ, right on cue, spouts the nutters' favorite talking point: they said Galileo was crazy, and he was right, and they say I'm crazy so I must be right.


I don't get why just because people are nuts about vaccinations that they are similarly crazy about other diseases. I'm not even sure they are crazy about the vaccinations.

jr565 said...

Gabriel,
You are in fact spouting the exact same talking point in reverse, suggesting that because they're crazy about one thing they therefor must be crazy about another.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jr565:You are in fact spouting the exact same talking point in reverse, suggesting that because they're crazy about one thing they therefor must be crazy about another.

Learn to read. I said their position is crazy. Until they have actual scientific evidence it will continue to be crazy. And I never said that they are crazy about everything, or other things. They are crazy on this topic, because on this topic they have no scientific evidence. The rest of what you accused me of saying is completely made up by you.

Eric said...

How much of this has to do with money? Can you get disability for chronic fatigue syndrome? People tend to get upset when you threaten to upend their rice bowl.

jr565 said...

Gabriel Hana wrote:
And SunnyJ, right on cue, spouts the nutters' favorite talking point: they said Galileo was crazy, and he was right, and they say I'm crazy so I must be right.

on which topic? Vaccinations or CFS/fibro?
If it's that vaccinations cause autism, then I'd agree with you, if the latter then, considering I went through more than a year suffering from it, would have to say they are not crazy.

Greg Hlatky said...
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Greg Hlatky said...

A theory that I think is plausible is that, yes, CFS and fibromyalgia are psychological in nature but that doesn't mean that the pain or fatigue isn't real.

Pain and fatigue are natural and idiopathic for us: to some extent we're always tired or in pain but our mind compensates and we go on. For those with CFS or fibromyalgia it's the compensation mechanism that's somehow gone wrong and that pain or fatigue aren't pushed into the background but come to the forefront.

jr565 said...

Greg wrote:
A theory that I think is plausible is that, yes, CFS and fibromyalgia are psychological in nature but that doesn't mean that the pain or fatigue isn't real.

Pain and fatigue are natural and idiopathic for us: to some extent we're always tired or in pain but our mind compensates and we go on. For those with CFS or fibromyalgia it's the compensation mechanism that's somehow gone wrong and that pain or fatigue aren't pushed into the background but come to the forefront.


The fatigue and pain are real.but at least with fibro, I think the problem stems from the fact that fibro describes that pain, not the cause of the pain. If you look up things like depression, or adrenal fatigue, or thyroid problems, or various deficiencies, or mold contamination, or even parasites, or even plain old depression, you'll often get symptoms like brain fog, or muscle weakness. Fibro is simply what they diagnose once they rule out other things.
Yet when doctors treat it, they usually end up treating other things, like undersctive thyroids, or various viruses etc.
Same thing with chronic fatigue.

Phil 314 said...

Being sick is way better than accepting that life is hard.

Phil 314 said...

And if you want to see real rage talk about how mammograms don't save lives.

Henry said...

Very sad. Perhaps the most telling part of the article concerns the threats against the scientist, Michael Sharpe, who suggested that cognitive behavioral therapy might help. Cognitive behavioral therapy is about as rigorous and evidenced-based as psychology gets. It can help people with disorders such as clinical depression that are well established as having a physiological component.

Activists who oppose such an approach really are hurting patients.

Henry said...

BTW, Galileo was completely wrong about circular orbits.

Teri said...

Yes, you can get disability for fibromyalgia, not sure about CFS. I was diagnosed with fibro in 1995 and the doctor then told me the basic treatment was adequate rest, exercise, eating healthy and avoiding stress. Easier said than done, but I worked on it, and my symptoms have been fairly mild the last 10 years or so. I went to fibro support groups at first, but they were full of whiners crying about how hard it was to do anything and how they were applying for disability. Yuck. I wanted to get better, not get disability.

I really do have fibromyalgia, pains, pressure spots, fatigue, the whole nine yards. I found a medication, off label use, it's usually for heart trouble and mitochondrial disease. The difference it makes is between being able to work a 40 week and come home and collapse, or work a 40 hour week and come home and cook dinner, balance my checkbook, do the laundry, etc.

However, I can't work more than 40 hours a week. It's like a switch. 40, I'm fine. 42, I start having symptoms big time - exhaustion, fog, achy joints, all that.

But, yeah, fibro and chronic fatigue are real. Who cares if the cause is psychological? It's still there and has to be dealt with. I might go into a manic fit and break my arm, but even though the cause is psychological I still need a cast on my arm.

KCFleming said...

I very much hesitate to write this, but this is a good chunk of my clinical practice.

jr565 is likely closest to the origin of the symptoms (hypersensitization of the fight-or-flight system, including the amygdala, Thalamus, hypothalamus, and sensory cortex, affecting sleep and alertness.

There is certainly a psychological component, but that does not mean it's imaginary. If that were so, people would get better faster than they do. Actual malingering is a lot easier to treat.

The people threatening researchers are morons. They should be imprisoned.

I fully understand the animosity towards CFS patients. I used to think that way myself. Animosity and ridicule and ignoring it don't solve much. Worse, there's lots of abuse and PTSD in CFS patients, so mostly I feel bad for them. But the key to recovery is at this point internal. Pain meds and permanent disability are unhelpful.

bagoh20 said...

I think a lot of us scoff at CFS and a lot of similar diseases because they manifest themselves exactly like the symptom of a person who is just a lazy-ass slug.

We all know such people. There is nothing wrong with them, yet there is always something wrong with them. They never have a good day, even if they won the lottery. We also know people who shoulder enormous bad luck and difficulty with endless optimism and energy.

We get the impression that if CFS did not exist that slugs would invent it anyway. Show me a clear cause and effect. If it is real, we should have the ability now to prove it. I'm very skeptical.

I went through years of anti-viral and chemo therapy. Some days when I felt like shit, I had to pull perfectly healthy people out of their funk by the hair so they could function near my pathetic (sick) level.

Some people are just in need of culling.

bagoh20 said...
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bagoh20 said...

We should have never decimated the wolf and bear populations surrounding our own. They were performing a service. It was a mutualistic symbiotic relationship.

The Crack Emcee said...

I like when people can be looking at the symptoms of cultism and not know what they're looking at. CFS has been a constant in cult circles since I got into looking at the phenomena. Anytime you get people going off the rails like this (they also get batty for others, like homeopathy) I wish someone would consider their "spiritual" outlook as a cause. I mean, you had cultists getting suicidal after seeing Avatar for Christ's sake, they desired a different reality so badly.

Anyway, I don't have time to go into it deeply, but take the behavior of the "extremists" in this article and check out the rest of the non-science environment they swim in (even within the medical community) and you start to see you're not dealing with anything normal.

Medicine's got a serious cult problem on it's hands, and it's not dealing with it at all. if anything, it's encouraging it with this bullshit patient-driven nonsense.

KCFleming said...

Increase in prefrontal cortical volume following cognitive behavioural therapy in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

"Recent studies have detected a decrease in cortical grey matter volume in patients with CFS, but it is unclear whether this cerebral atrophy constitutes a cause or a consequence of the disease

Crucially, CFS patients showed a significant increase in grey matter volume, localized in the lateral prefrontal cortex. This change in cerebral volume was related to improvements in cognitive speed in the CFS patients. Our findings indicate that the cerebral atrophy associated with CFS is partially reversed after effective CBT. This result provides an example of macroscopic cortical plasticity in the adult human brain, demonstrating a surprisingly dynamic relation between behavioural state and cerebral anatomy
"

The Crack Emcee said...

English, Pogo, english.

Please.

bagoh20 said...

I think it means their fucked up in the head.

KCFleming said...

That is, the amygdala and the rest of the fight-or-flight system is enlarged at the expense of the prefrontal cortex, which atrophies.

So this is a demonstrable physical abnormality. Not imaginary, and not bullshit.

I would agree however there is a lot of New Age hooey surrounding CFS, but there is a lot of New Age hooey surrounding most everything in Western society. It says little about the disorder itself.

Many people I have seen think New Age is bullshit, and that those who don't work shouldn't eat, but they also have CFS. They go to work every day and never complain and feel like shit all the time. They only tell me. And they have no candles or crystals or chakras or colon cleansings or chants.

The Crack Emcee said...

I think it means their fucked up in the head.

Well, big fucking surprise there.

The first link I made is about a bogus study in the journal, Cancer, which was done in association with the Samueli Institute, which I've been kinda following for years.

Considering the level of fraud they've been engaged in, I have a hard time understanding how they're still in business.

KCFleming said...

I suspect the disorder is the result of living in the fight-or-flight system, rather than under the guide of the front part of our brains.

Not malingering, not crazy. Fixable with training.

I have seen people get better. But I have never ever seen people improve by telling them to buck up or soldier on or get off their lazy asses.

And again, I used to think that's what they needed.

But neither do they need coddling or comfy chairs or crystals. It's a lot of work to recover.

And I am very sorry I entered this discussion.

KCFleming said...

"The lateral prefrontal cortex is an essential node of the network subserving executive functions...

Lesions in lateral prefrontal cortex often lead to significant reductions in the generation of appropriate goal-directed voluntary behaviour ...which can clinically manifest itself as apathy....
"

So, yeah, their brains are messed up.

bagoh20 said...

I know so many liberal types who in one breath will tell you how anti-science the right is, and in the next breath tell how they know something based on karma, good or bad "energies", astrology, or some remnant of paganism.

These people also, of course, laugh at Christian beliefs for being silly and non-scientific.

Maybe I don't have enough exposure, but it seems to me that Crack MC is rare in his, at least equal, disgust for the non-Christian religious, who I find much more dangerous, obnoxious, and frankly, stupid. But I do love many of them as friends and lovers. I don't expect them to abandon their beliefs. They are even more locked in than a lifelong Bible belt evangelical, who I generally love too, and really have no problem with if they don't expect me to accept the faith parts as a basis for public policy.

The Crack Emcee said...

Pogo,

Many people I have seen think New Age is bullshit, and that those who don't work shouldn't eat, but they also have CFS. They go to work every day and never complain and feel like shit all the time. They only tell me. And they have no candles or crystals or chakras or colon cleansings or chants.

I contend most people wouldn't know NewAge, except in the extreme ("candles or crystals or chakras or colon cleansings or chants") if their lives depended on it. Not only do they not know if they're in it, but doctors don't know how to see if they're in it. Hell, I lived with a woman for 20 years and didn't know how deeply she was in it, or how deep it goes - and that was a mind-blower.

We are looking directly at a phenomena, all over our society, that we've been programed to view as normal, and thus can't see. Ann claims to hate NewAge, and I'm sure she does - the mystical part - but she still thinks it's "the good people" who respond to green nudging and that such nudging is a good thing - not that I have a right to be left alone when I go shopping. Now, imagine you're so invested in this green idea that it depresses you it's not catching on. See where I'm going?

The number of triggers for cultish ideas, and CFS, are in the thousands.

But, in order to cure it, first we have to admit/acknowledge they're there and the phenomena is real.

KCFleming said...
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KCFleming said...

The effect on the brain is not unlike that of chronic pot smoking.

The Crack Emcee said...

Pogo,

I am very sorry I entered this discussion.

Please don't be. I'm interested in talking to a doctor who doesn't think I'm nuts. My sister blog is run by Panda Bear, M.D., a doctor who served in Iraq. Being a conservative, he's not accepted by the general medical community, and his views and mine are pretty close on this stuff.

Talk to me, man, if it's not too embarrassing for you to discuss this with a layperson.

bagoh20 said...

I don't know if things like CFS are real or not, and apparently science doesn't either yet, but I do know people, who are just incapable of being energetic, positive and enthusiastic on even an occasional basis. They aren't sick, they are just made, or self-reenforced that way. They have been that way forever and will die way. They love this stuff, as an excuse, whether someone else actually has it or not, these people know they have it, as well as whatever new thing shows up on Dr. OZ today.

KCFleming said...

Not at all, I didn't mean you, really. I hesitate to mention imy work to anyone because people have strong feelings about it on all sides. Like th lunatics threatening to kill researchers.

I think the disorder almost always occurs in people who have had abuse histories, especially in childhood. This makes the flight-or-flight system grow abnormally large, at the expense of the prefrontal cortex.

Later, some event occurs that sets them into a spiral of fatigue. It cn be an actual viral illness, but that only serves as the trigger. The gun was already loaded. In others, it begins after some massive stress occurs.

So is it psychological? In the sense that it occurs in the brain, yes. But it isn't fakery or laziness or craziness, unless PTSD is entirely fake.

It's hard to fake chnges in brain size, which is proven to occur when they get better.

bagoh20 said...

"The effect on the brain is not unlike that of chronic pot smoking."

I don't know how scientific that is. I certainly have known a lot of chronic pot smokers, and although some are like that, I also know many who are just the opposite: energetic, enthusiastic, positive and successful. For me, it seems pot smokers are about the same distribution as non-smokers on this.

The Crack Emcee said...

Pogo,

The effect on the brain is not unlike that of chronic pot smoking.

I'm sure it is, but what are they "smoking" is the question? You've got a lot of people doing yoga and meditation now - which everyone claims is harmless, even benificial - though Carl Jung warned about what can do to the mind, studies have shown it changes behavior, and much, much, more - shit, the fucking Soviets were studying our hippies doing it, and all we can think to do is encourage people to do it even more. It's not right.

There's something there, Pogo. I know it.

KCFleming said...

Bagoh, you're describing more the folks who have personality disorders. They do tend to have fad diseases, I agree. But it's a different group than CFS, when interviewed. Lazy doctors might dignose them as such, but that's a different problem.

bagoh20 said...

If I'm on chemo for months: weak, lethargic, nauseous, and vomiting, yet I still go to work everyday, and resist the very real desire to just stay in bed for days on end, and I have a friend with no such chemical poisoning that gives in to that same desire to stay in bed for his own reasons. What am I to deduce from that?

He says he has an illness. Saw it on TV, read about. Doctor says: "Yea, could be."

There is something not right here.

The Crack Emcee said...

They love this stuff, as an excuse, whether someone else actually has it or not, these people know they have it, as well as whatever new thing shows up on Dr. OZ today.

Mehmet Oz, married to a Reiki Master and a total quack with a license to practice. Winner of last year's Pigasus Award for the promotion of nonsense by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

KCFleming said...

How Marijuana Affects the Way the Brain Processes Emotional Information

""These findings are of great clinical relevance given recent evidence suggesting that exposure to marijuana during adolescence can increase the likelihood of developing schizophrenia later in life," says Laviolette, an associate professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. "We know there are abnormalities in both the amygdala and prefrontal cortex in patients who have schizophrenia, and we now know these same brain areas are critical to the effects of marijuana and other cannabinoid drugs on emotional processing.

KCFleming said...

"There is something not right here"

Yes; that doctor is a moron. There are morons in every field, including medicine. That's not news.

Why are you a self-starter, even on chemo, and others are slugs, even when well?

There will always be abuse of the system where money is involved. I agree. My advice to patients always involves getting back to full time employment. They cannot recover if that is not their goal. Disability status is to be avoided at all costs.

KCFleming said...

Crack, I did not know that about Oz. Hilarious.

Does Harvard turn out any normal graduates?

The Crack Emcee said...

My theory goes like this:

NewAge hits us from all sides. I'm aware of it's parameters and I practically have to run a gauntlet just to keep it out of my life, because it's now integrated into, and affects, almost every aspect of what we do. If someone's not aware of how it's affecting them, while coming at them from multiple sources, it can result in a general sense that something's "not right" with them or the world, resulting in fatigue, a general sense of uneasiness, or a depression-like response that can interrupt sleeping, work, and countless other activities.

The Crack Emcee said...

The French call it "malaise," and I bet you see a huge uptick once Obama's out of office.

KCFleming said...

Not bad, though it leaves unexplained why so few people get CFS when all are exposed to New Age bullshit.
More, similar disorders can be traced back centuries.

From Paralysis to Fatigue: A History of Psychosomatic Illness in the Modern Era

The Crack Emcee said...

Hey, Pogo, answer me this - just off the top of your head:

The vast majority of your patients with CFS - liberals or conservatives?

bagoh20 said...

I got to admit that I am, on occasion, tempted to get me some new age. It is intoxicating. The successful versions are easy, fun, and give you something to spend your money on when you are too rich or too dumb to spend it all wisely.

The Mother Gaia, and Native American religious stuff is tempting to an outdoorsy kinda guy like me who is just in awe of the natural world with it's complexity and beauty, but I wouldn't preach it, or tell others I know anything useful from it. It's just cool in an aesthetic sense.

Of course, if I was making millions on it, then I'm a believer for sure, and I will accept any awards for my "dedication".

The Crack Emcee said...

Pogo,

Not bad, though it leaves unexplained why so few people get CFS when all are exposed to New Age bullshit.

Because we're all being affected by different aspects of it, and responding differently to what we get:

Some people dig it - it's just what they've been looking for all of their lives. They take supplements, and go green, and do yoga, and life doesn't suck - until they meet me.

Others are lost in it, maybe wishing it would work for them but, of course, it doesn't - it ultimately won't work for anyone. Also, it's like "The Secret" for some people:

It got them all excited but, once it failed, they ain't talking about being a fool - they just don't feel good.

My wife had some of the most amazing, but at the time unexplained, reactions and behaviors over the years: tired, unmotivated, etc., while completely consumed with Reiki and listening to radio programs about angels. There's no telling what combination is getting someone else, or how they're reacting.

bagoh20 said...

Although it brings in a lot of other variables, I would be interested in how new age adherents break down per college educated or not.

If higher education works, then it would be hard to find a better test of it's effectiveness than whether there is a very strong negative correlation, but I would not count on it.

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm not picking on yoga here, or suggesting everyone with CFS is doing it, but just trying to make a "for instance" point:

What could be the result in America, mentally, for a bunch of people participating in an (unknown) 5,000 year old practice that, in India, makes someone smear themselves with the ashes of dead people and dung - and that's if they get good at it?

Think there might be some possible changes in the brain?

The Crack Emcee said...

Although it brings in a lot of other variables, I would be interested in how new age adherents break down per college educated or not.

If higher education works, then it would be hard to find a better test of it's effectiveness than whether there is a very strong negative correlation, but I would not count on it.


Everyone's in it, but they're into different things by class. For instance, it's primarily rich women buying into homeopathy, keeping their kids from being vaccinated, and attending Indian retreats in Sedona.

Poor women are primarily going to the psychics on the corner, applying "Head-On" straight to the forehead, and talking a lot about Karma.

What's hard to deal with, in either case, is the complete mind control it has over people once they're in it. Watch this and you'll see what I mean. Two things to take note of - 1) how no one is allowed in that can break the spell, and 2) the Lefty/NewAge triggers that encircle the belief: meditation, environmentalism, etc. They've all got them, though they vary by person. Context is everything here. As that old commercial used to say:

We're soaking in it.