Journal: BMC psychology
The PACE trial was a well-powered randomised trial designed to examine the efficacy of graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for chronic fatigue syndrome. Reports concluded that both treatments were moderately effective, each leading to recovery in over a fifth of patients. However, the reported analyses did not consistently follow the procedures set out in the published protocol, and it is unclear whether the conclusions are fully justified by the evidence.
Some studies have indicated that social engagement is associated with better cognitive outcomes. This study aimed to investigate associations between life-course social engagement (civic participation) and cognitive status at age 50, adjusting for social networks and support, behavioural, health, social and socio-economic characteristics.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is chronic disabling illness characterized by severe disabling fatigue, typically made worse by exertion. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is thought by some to be the same disorder (then referred to as CFS/ME) and by others to be different. There is an urgent need to find effective treatments for CFS. The UK Medical Research Council PACE trial published in 2011 compared available treatments and concluded that when added to specialist medical care, cognitive behaviour therapy and graded exercise therapy were more effective in improving both fatigue and physical function in participants with CFS, than both adaptive pacing therapy and specialised medical care alone. In this paper, we respond to the methodological criticisms of the trial and a reanalysis of the trial data reported by Wilshire at al. We conclude that neither the criticisms nor the reanalysis offer any convincing reason to change the conclusions of the PACE trial.
Despite widespread evidence that gender stereotypes influence human parental behavior, their potential effects on adults' perception of babies' cries have been overlooked. In particular, whether adult listeners overgeneralize the sex dimorphism that characterizes the voice of adult speakers (men are lower-pitched than women) to their perception of babies' cries has not been investigated.
Arguments for including mindfulness instruction in higher education have included claims about the benefits of mindfulness practice for critical thinking. While there is theoretical support for this claim, empirical support is limited. The aim of this study was to test this claim by investigating the effects of an online mindfulness intervention on executive function, critical thinking skills and associated thinking dispositions.
The evidence that many of the findings in the published literature may be unreliable is compelling. There is an excess of positive results, often from studies with small sample sizes, or other methodological limitations, and the conspicuous absence of null findings from studies of a similar quality. This distorts the evidence base, leading to false conclusions and undermining scientific progress. Central to this problem is a peer-review system where the decisions of authors, reviewers, and editors are more influenced by impressive results than they are by the validity of the study design. To address this, BMC Psychology is launching a pilot to trial a new ‘results-free’ peer-review process, whereby editors and reviewers are blinded to the study’s results, initially assessing manuscripts on the scientific merits of the rationale and methods alone. The aim is to improve the reliability and quality of published research, by focusing editorial decisions on the rigour of the methods, and preventing impressive ends justifying poor means.
In a recent paper, we argued that the conclusions of the PACE trial of chronic fatigue syndrome are problematic because the pre-registered protocol was not adhered to. We showed that when the originally specific outcomes and analyses are used, the evidence for the effectiveness of CBT and graded exercise therapy is weak. In a companion paper to this article, Sharpe, Goldsmith and Chalder dismiss the concerns we raised and maintain that the original conclusions are robust. In this rejoinder, we clarify one misconception in their commentary, and address seven additional arguments they raise in defence of their conclusions. We conclude that none of these arguments is sufficient to justify digressing from the pre-registered trial protocol. Specifically, the PACE authors view the trial protocol as a preliminary plan, subject to honing and improvement as time progresses, whereas we view it as a contract that should not be broken except in extremely unusual circumstances. While the arguments presented by Sharpe and colleagues inspire some interesting reflections on the scientific process, they fail to restore confidence in the PACE trial’s conclusions.
The movement of evidence-based practices (EBPs) into routine clinical usage is not spontaneous, but requires focused efforts. The field of implementation science has developed to facilitate the spread of EBPs, including both psychosocial and medical interventions for mental and physical health concerns.
Media multitasking (MMT)-using and switching between unrelated forms of media-has been implicated in altered processing of extraneous stimuli, resulting in performance deficits. Here, we sought to extend our prior work to test the hypothesis that MMT might be associated with enhanced processing of incidental environmental cues during person perception.
The effect of cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp) on the core symptoms of schizophrenia has proven contentious, with current meta-analyses finding at most only small effects. However, it has been suggested that the effects of CBTp in areas other than psychotic symptoms are at least as important and potentially benefit from the intervention.