Bad stats, non sequitur conclusions in Lancet chronic fatigue syndrome/suicide study

Quick Thoughts

JiggoryInterpretive jiggery-pokery in The Lancet

A tale of a convenience sample with inconvenient serious limitations.

I would have dismissed this study  in a brief screen, except that it appeared in The Lancet.

Roberts E, Wessely S, Chalder T, Chang CK, Hotopf M. Mortality of people with chronic fatigue syndrome: a retrospective cohort study in England and Wales from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Biomedical Research Centre (SLaM BRC) Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) Register. The Lancet. 2016 Feb 10.

The study has too small a sample to warrant a manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. If you keep looking at it, its problems get compounded.

I recommend downloading this open access article and following me as I explained its flaws.

What, too small a sample? With 2147 patients, the study is probably the largest ever of mortality among patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. But the adequacy…

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