By Good Elf in Opposing MEGA.
Untangling The MUS Web
How badly have UK proponents of ‘Medically Unexplained Symptoms’ (MUS) misled the medical community?
From the murky mire of ‘medical’ literature on ‘MUS’, one reference emerges as more rancid than the rest. This 2001 paper – https://www.sciencedirect.com/…/…/abs/pii/S0022399901002239… – by Nimnuan, Wessely and Hotopf has been used extensively as a key piece of propaganda for the UK’s MUS management project, but there’s been little mention or scrutiny of its ‘small print’, and that’s a crying shame. The paper documents a study on ‘MUS’ at outpatient clinics at 2 London hospitals and has been repeatedly cited to persuade doctors, other health professionals and NHS commissioners that ‘MUS’ is rife in secondary care (in 52% of new outpatient referrals overall) and so a great burden on doctors as well as a considerable drain on NHS resources. However, in many or perhaps most cases, readers haven’t been told that there were significant limitations to the study, including that the required sample size wasn’t reached and that the prevalence of MUS could have been exaggerated through patients not being followed up over a longer period of time. But that’s small potatoes compared to another issue with this study.
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