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Web-Based Therapy May Help Teens With Chronic Fatigue
Date:3/1/2012

THURSDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Teens with chronic fatigue syndrome, which can cause poor concentration and memory as well as joint and muscle pain, may benefit from an Internet-based treatment known as FITNET, a new study has found.

Researchers in the Netherlands studied teens with the debilitating condition and found that 63 percent reported that they felt better or had recovered after six months of the Web-based therapy, according to the report published online March 1 in The Lancet.

FITNET gave the teens electronic access to cognitive behavior therapy, which has shown promising results for this age group.

"With FITNET, effective treatment is within reach for any adolescent with [chronic fatigue syndrome]. These findings stress the need for proper and rapid diagnosis and making medical professionals aware of adolescent [chronic fatigue syndrome] and the treatment options," study author Sanne Nijhof, from the University Medical Centre Utrecht, said in a journal news release.

In the study, which included 135 teens who suffered from the syndrome for nearly two years, patients were randomly assigned to receive either FITNET or standard therapy, largely consisting of individual and group cognitive behavior therapy or exercise therapy.

The teens also completed questionnaires on how their treatment affected their fatigue, physical functioning and self-rated improvement. The researchers also took into account the students' school absences.

After six months, 85 percent of the teens using the Web-based therapy reported their severe fatigue was gone, while 27 percent of the teens using the standard treatment said the same. Meanwhile, 78 percent of the FITNET teens reported normal physical functioning, compared to 20 percent of the standard therapy group, the investigators found.

The researchers also noted that 75 percent of the FITNET teens had full school attendance, compared with 16 percen
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