I offer this piece after reading only the abstract of a recently published article. There may be inaccuracies because I have not read the entire piece. Feel free to post corrections.
A syllogism is a form of logical thinking which I learned about in college. Syllogisms are frequently twisted into false logic causing spurious or misleading conclusions. To say( 1) more women have Lyme disease(which is vague) then (2)more women also have depression(which is also vague) THEREFORE women who have Lyme disease likely have depression- is like saying: fire hydrants are red: you are red: therefore you are likely a fire hydrant. This is the sort of logic evinced in a recent article published by prominent anti-Lyme IDSA figures in the Journal of Women's Health. I can understand why women take umbrage with these remarks.
Not only is the logic false, but the implications are insulting to many health care professionals and professional health care organizations. If "Chronic Lyme disease" is a vaguely defined term that has been applied to patients with prolonged subjective symptoms..." The same cannot be said for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or depression.
Fibromyalgia is not vague. It is a syndrome which has been clearly described by the American Association of Rheumatology. It is defined by very specific symptoms combined with very specific physical findings. Chronic fatigue syndrome is not vague. It has been very clearly defined. This definition can be viewed in CDC published literature. Depression is certainly not vague. The psychiatric community has meticulously defined this disorder, and its subtypes, in a book called the DMS4.
There are clear cultural differences between men and women. Men are infrequent users of the health care system. Men are less likely to complain of symptoms. Culturally men are taught to be stoic, to not complain and ignore symptoms until they are very advanced.
Their are indeed biological differences between men and women as well. Women are twice as like to suffer with autoimmune diseases as men. Most physicians who treat chronic Lyme disease are well aware of the strong autoimmune component of Lyme disease. Women also live longer than men and are less likely to succumb to severe infectious illnesses. These differences are real.
Are diseases like depression really more common amongst women? We know that women are more likely to seek professional help for depression. MEN ARE FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO SUCCESSFULLY COMMIT SUICIDE. Which gender is more depressed? Men are more likely to suffer with alcoholism, drug addiction and commit acts of violence. These are well known surrogates of depression and other mental illnesses.
The word "hysteria" is derived from an ancient Greek medical concept. It was a female disease related to a disturbance of the uterus. Hysteria has become synonymous with the terms "psychosomatic" and "psychogenic." Sadly, many physicians today are still influenced by this ancient, unwarranted prejudice.
One might conclude that the authors have lumped together these so called female predominant disorders because the underlying beliefs of the authors, like many others in the medical community, is that these "new age" illness are a phony-psychosomatic- manifestation of hysteria- as described by the ancient Greeks.
Why conclude that so called chronic Lyme patients have been misdiagnosed and really have these other syndromes? What evidence is there to back up this conclusion? Perhaps it is the other way around. Typically, chronic Lyme patients do not neatly fit into the syndromes of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. Unfortunately may cynical physicians, who fail to accept the reality of these illness, have used these clinical disorders as a "waste basket" for Lyme patients when in fact no clear diagnosis has been established--at least according to their paradigm.
This sort of thinking seems dismissive and anachronistic with regard to the suffering of so many chronic Lyme sufferers. And as stated at the outset, the logical argument marshaled here is questionable at the very least.
One has to question the motives of the authors: Are they trying to promote a scientific understanding of a disease or are they publishing pabulum in an effort to promote their pre-existing, crumbling paradigm?
I think its time for a change. Don't you?