• Sweden's news in English

Study: apathetic refugee kids are not faking it

TT/The Local/pvs · 29 Apr 2012, 07:15

Published: 29 Apr 2012 07:15 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The study by researchers at Uppsala University and the Karolinska Institute in Solna found that when the children recover hormone levels return to normal.

"Our study is small, but the results are still so clear that we can reject all claims that the children simulated their symptoms. Altered levels of various so-called steroid hormones is not something that can be simulated," said Jonas Bergquist, professor of neurochemistry at Uppsala University to the local UNT daily.

The more symptoms the children showed, the greater seemed to be hormonal changes, according to the new study.

The study has been published in the BMC Research Notes medical journal and included eleven children who were treated by the Sachsska Children's Hospital in Solna, in collaboration with the child and adolescent psychiatric mobile team in Stockholm.

The issue of apathetic refugee children led to a fevered media debate in 2005/2006 after a report penned by child psychologist Marie Hessler which indicated that the children may have been faking the condition.

Several charities working within the field disputed the findings of the report, which was commissioned by Barbro Holmberg, the Social Democrat migration minister at the time.

Story continues below…

Around 400 children, mostly from the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, were found to be suffering from the condition in 2005. The condition continues to affect refugee children seeking asylum in Sweden.

The underlying causes for the condition remain unclear but the symptoms result in children being confined to their beds for extended periods of time, showing no contact with the outside world and requiring tube feeding.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:42 April 29, 2012 by scubadoc
Hormonal changes as well as other bodily changes occur as a result of the bodies activity level. At periods of excitation we have one type of body chemistry and at times of non-activity our body chemistry changes once more. We are all aware of the enormous chemical (hormonal) changes seen in the anorexic patient. Of course, laying in bed not moving nor eating is going to produce several changes in our hormonal levels. These changes have nothing to do with faking it or not faking it. Any physician stating otherwise should not be practicing medicine but should become a full fledged politician
13:32 April 29, 2012 by gpafledthis
Cure them with african sunlight !! Clearly importing "hothouse people" is bad for their health ! This is a crime against humanity !! Depriving the sons of bees sun !!
16:34 April 29, 2012 by DAVID T
easy to fix - don't let them in
19:11 April 29, 2012 by johan rebel
How interesting that these dramatic hormonal changes only occur in Sweden.. One would have expected about 100 million cases in Europe after World War II, for example. Or, to take a topical example, how many kids in Syria have been affected recently. Only those who have managed to flee to Sweden, probably.

Now that this disease has been legitimized, I would not be surprised to see a sudden upsurge in cases.
21:01 April 29, 2012 by cogito
Sweden causes apathy in everyone.
23:23 April 29, 2012 by Svensksmith
I'd make a comment but I just don't feel like it.
07:16 April 30, 2012 by calebian22
What are the ages of these "children?" If they are tweeners or teens, I call bs. A teen who is apathetic and wants to lay in bed all day? How unusual!
12:08 April 30, 2012 by cogito
Svensksmith (#6). Once again, you provide the biggest laugh of my morning.

calebian22, Am not a teenager, but I want to lay in bed all day, too. Especially from November to April.
Today's headlines
Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th year.

What's on in Sweden
Five great autumn events in Sweden this week
Jazz in northern Sweden. Photo: Umeå Jazz Festival

Food, music, movies and more food. What better way of helping yourself forget that the days are getting shorter and colder?

Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available