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Study Says 2 Therapies Help Fight Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Date:2/18/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Patients struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome may be helped the most when standard treatment is coupled with cognitive behavior therapy or exercise therapy, new British research suggests.

The apparent promise of cognitive behavior therapy and "graded exercise therapy" offers considerable hope to patients combating the complex condition characterized by profound tiredness, impaired concentration, diminished memory, sleep difficulties and muscle and joint pain, the study authors said.

The findings also support the somewhat controversial notion that incremental adjustments in physical behavior and/or mental attitude can ultimately have a positive impact on the disorder, the authors said.

The standard intervention, known as specialist medical care, is centered around giving patients information about their condition, advice on how to manage symptoms and assistance with coping approaches.

The research team behind the new study found little appreciable benefit with a third alternate therapeutic approach that focuses on helping patients strictly structure their activity and relaxation routines to match their severely reduced energy levels. This strategy, known as "adaptive pacing therapy," assumes that chronic fatigue syndrome is not, in fact, reversible with behavioral changes.

"Patients who received either graded exercise therapy or cognitive behavior therapy reported less fatigue and better function than those who received either adaptive pacing therapy or specialist medical care alone," said study author Dr. Peter D. White, a professor of psychological medicine at Barts and the London School of Medicine, and a psychiatrist at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London.

White and his colleagues report their findings in the Feb. 18 online edition of The Lancet.

The authors noted that it is not yet understood what gives
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