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How have selection bias and disease misclassification undermined the validity of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome studies?

Authors
  • Nacul, Luis1
  • Lacerda, Eliana M1
  • Kingdon, Caroline C1
  • Curran, Hayley1
  • Bowman, Erinna W1
  • 1 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of health psychology
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2019
Volume
24
Issue
12
Pages
1765–1769
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/1359105317695803
PMID: 28810428
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome has been a controversial diagnosis, resulting in tensions between patients and professionals providing them with care. A major constraint limiting progress has been the lack of a 'gold standard' for diagnosis; with a number of imperfect clinical and research criteria used, each defining different, though overlapping, groups of people with myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome. We review basic epidemiological concepts to illustrate how the use of more specific and restrictive case definitions could improve research validity and drive progress in the field by reducing selection bias caused by diagnostic misclassification.

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