More MS news articles for February 2001

Patients With Chronic Fatigue Benefit From Graded Exercise

February 20, 2001
British Medical Journal/MedscapeWire

Many patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have inaccurate illness beliefs that may perpetuate their condition. A study in the February 17 issue of the British Medical Journal finds that providing patients with medical explanations for symptoms to encourage graded exercise can substantially improve their condition.

A total of 148 patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome were randomized into 4 groups. Patients in the control group received standardized medical care. Patients in 3 intervention groups received various degrees of treatment, including explanations of symptoms that encouraged home-based graded exercise.

At one year, 69% of patients in the intervention groups had improved their physical functioning compared with 6% of patients in the control group. Similar improvements were seen in fatigue, sleep, disability and mood. Overall, the explanations of their symptoms convinced 94% of the patients to carry out graded activity.

This approach may be as effective as cognitive (mental) behavior therapy, but is shorter and requires less therapist skill, conclude the authors.

BMJ. 2001;322(7283):387-390