Staff working for the UK ME/CFS Biobank at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have had another paper published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Here, the team – whose running costs are currently funded wholly by the ME Association's Ramsay Research Fund – ask whether long-running disputes about selection bias and disease misrepresentation are holding back progress in ME/CFS research.
From the Journal of Health Psychology (open access piece), 1 March 2017.
How have selection bias and disease misclassification undermined the validity of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome studies?
Luis Nacul, Eliana M Lacerda, Caroline C Kingdon, Hayley Curran, Erinna W Bowman
‘Cure ME' Team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
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.