Childhood Abuse and ME, FM & MCS

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CHILDHOOD ABUSE AND ME/CFS, FM & MCS

You will find below a press release linking childhood physical abuse and CFS, FM and MCS :  http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-05-link-childhood-physical-abuse-chronic.html

As you read the press release, you may wish to note the following:

1)  According to the author, in an email she sent to me today:   "The findings of a link between childhood physical abuse and the functional somatic syndromes was very similar to our other studies showing  a link between childhood physical abuse and cancer, osteoarthritis, migraines, ulcers and heart disease. "

2)   People who are abused as children do not invariably develop CFS, FM or MCS.  According to CCHS 2005 data:
97% of the people who reported having being abused in childhood did NOT report a diagnosis of CFS.
97% of the people who reported having being abused in childhood did NOT report a diagnosis of FM.
95% of the people who reported having being abused in childhood did NOT report a diagnosis of MCS.

3)  Furthermore, the vast majority of people with CFS, FM or MCS did not report abuse.  For those responding either Yes or NO to the abuse question: 
77% of people reporting a diagnosis of CFS said that they had NOT been abused in childhood.
85% of people reporting a diagnosis of FM   said that they had NOT been abused in childhood.
83% of people reporting a diagnosis of MCS said that they had NOT been abused in childhood.

This study and the other studies the author referred to in her email suggest that childhood abuse can have health consequences later in life.  However, one cannot conclude that childhood abuse always leads to CFS, FM or MCS.  Further, many people with these illnesses were not abused.  It is unfortunate that the press release may leave these false impressions.  It is also unfortunate that the author used unwelcome terminology in describing the illnesses.

Margaret Parlor
President
National ME/FM Action Network

Researchers find link between childhood physical abuse, chronic fatigue syndrome
Childhood physical abuse is associated with significantly elevated rates of functional somatic syndromes such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities among women, according to new findings by University of Toronto researchers. The research will be published in this month's issue of the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma.
"Women who reported they had been physically abused as children have twice the odds of chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities, and 65 per cent higher odds of fibromyalgia" says lead investigator Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, who holds the Sandra Rotman Chair at U of T's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Department of Family and Community Medicine. "These findings persisted even after controlling for potentially confounding factors such as other adverse childhood experiences, age, race, mental health and adult socioeconomic status."
The study examined statistics from a regional subsample of the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey involving 7,342 women, 10 per cent of whom reported being physically abused as children. A minority of women reported they had been diagnosed by a health professional with chronic fatigue syndrome (1.3%), fibromyalgia (2.5%), or multiple chemical sensitivities (2.7%).
Co-author Joanne Sulman, from the Department of Social Work at Mount Sinai, says the research not only points to an association between childhood physical abuse and these disorders, but also explores the contribution of confounding psychosocial factors such as other childhood adversities, adult health behaviours and mental health.
"But perhaps the most interesting aspects of the research," says Sulman, "are the questions it raises, such as the mechanisms that link physical abuse to chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities."

Provided by University of Toronto (news : web)