Get Into the Loop

Foundation News

Daniel J. Wallace, MD, Clarifies Misunderstanding of the Scientific Literature

No causal link found between lupus and abuse in childhood

Recent reports from Deepak Chopra of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing inaccurately claim that a February 2009 Psychosomatic Medicine journal article links the experience of childhood trauma and abuse to the development of the autoimmune disease, systemic lupus.

I have read this study. Dr. Chopra is wrong.

The study shows no statistical evidence demonstrating a causal relationship between childhood stress and subsequent hospitalization specifically for systemic lupus—which is what the researchers examined, along with hospitalization for multiple other autoimmune illnesses.

In my decades of medical practice of treating more than 2,000 patients with lupus, I have never seen any evidence-based data linking lupus to childhood trauma. And no articles published in the (primarily) peer-reviewed collection of over 100,000 scientific and medical articles on the National Institutes of Health's PubMed database over the past half century found any pattern of physical or sexual childhood abuse among individuals with lupus.

This kind of misleading information does a disservice to the 1.5 million Americans with lupus coping with this life-threatening disease.

back to news