Calculating Gains in Life Expectancy With Risk Factor Reduction

Harvey E. Golden, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(12):1332. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430120123019.
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In a recent article, Bates et al1 reported that certain clinical laboratory test results distinguished a group of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome from a group of healthy control subjects. They stated that "this observation suggests the presence of a biological process or processes that may contribute to, or be responsible for, the symptoms of CFS." What is the alternative explanation for the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome if not a biological process or processes? Would the absence of a difference on those objective clinical laboratory tests suggest that it was something else? Surely, the authors do not mean to imply that when patients have symptoms of chronic fatigue in the absence of abnormal laboratory test results, such symptoms are "in their heads."

Given our abandonment of the notion of Cartesian mind/body dualism, it would only mean that we had not yet found the right test.


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