Atlantic Article Suggests Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Not Real Diseases


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
At least he also puts gluten intolerance in there and he acknowledges his possible designation of ME/CFS and FM as "cultural diseases" is controversial. ME/CFS and FM, of course, are found in Europe and Asia - Japan has a huge research effort underway to try and understand ME/CFS and Dr. Clauw has said that FM is the same in every country around the world.

Beck: Are there other conditions that Americans experience and other countries don’t so much that could be our culture-bound syndromes?

Bures: Some of the more obvious syndromes would be anorexia; bigorexia which is like muscle dysmorphia, where men think they're not muscular and they keep exercising; pet hoarding. This is controversial but some people talk about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome as possible cultural syndromes. Wind turbine syndrome would possibly be one, where people who live near wind farms feel like they’re getting disturbed sleep, headaches, tinnitus, nervousness, from the wind turbines. There’s no real evidence for it. But people feel these things for real.

The guy feels like our culture invents diseases and then people come to believe in them. He might be interested to learn that I had ME/CFS before the disease had been named and getting it named didn't change my symptoms at all!


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I left this comment:

To lump in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia with turbine illness is unbelievable and unacceptable in a journal like the Atlantic. The National Enquirer - yes - the Atlantic - no.

I had chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromyalgia before they became named disease and I can tell you that my experiences of them changed not a whit after they became named.

Both are found in Europe and Asia and Japan has a large research program underway trying to figure out what chronic fatigue syndrome is. The central nervous system problems with pain inhibition/pain exacerbation as well as small nerve fiber neuropathy, in FM have been very well documented and numerous study show problems with autonomic nervous system functioning, NK cell functioning and metabolic problems during exercise with ME/CFS as well as increased oxidative stress, HPA axis dysfunction, increased lactate levels in the brain, low blood volume and others in ME/CFS.

The author might also like to know that several studies have found both ME/CFS and FM to be more functionally disabling than major diseases such as heart disease and cancer!

It unfortunate that people with these diseases need to read stuff like this.

Who Me?

Well-Known Member
stolen penis = CFS

You can’t get your genitals stolen in America.
At least, not while they’re attached to your body. But people can in Nigeria, Benin, China, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In all of these places, there have been cases of koro (also called suo yang in some places), “a cultural syndrome where people feel like their genitals are being sucked into their body,” says Frank Bures. “And there’s a fear of death.” It’s often thought to be caused by some kind of curse, or spell, or spirit—something otherworldly.

This is the condition that sparked Bures’s interest and led to his new book The Geography of Madness: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World’s Strangest Syndromes. In it, he investigates mostly penis theft, but also other examples of what are called “cultural syndromes” or “culture-bound syndromes”—conditions that only exist in, and seem to stem from, particular cultures. Other examples include “frigophobia” in China, “a fear of cold which has its roots in traditional Chinese cosmology of balancing between hot and cold”; running “amok” in Malaysia, when people go on a killing spree they can’t remember later; and “hikikomori,” in Japan, when people socially withdraw to the point where they never leave home.

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