Cognitive behavioural therapy for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome is not effective. Re-analysis of a Cochrane review.
ABSTRACT: Analysis of the 2008 Cochrane review of cognitive behavioural therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome shows that seven patients with mild chronic fatigue syndrome need to be treated for one to report a small, short-lived subjective improvement of fatigue. This is not matched by an objective improvement of physical fitness or employment and illness benefit status. Most studies in the Cochrane review failed to report on safety or adverse reactions. Patient evidence suggests adverse outcomes in 20 per cent of cases. If a trial of a drug or surgical procedure uncovered a similar high rate, it would be unlikely to be accepted as safe. It is time to downgrade cognitive behavioural therapy to an adjunct support-level therapy, rather than a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:At least 30% of young people with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) also have symptoms of depression. This systematic review aimed to establish which treatment approaches for depression are effective and whether comorbid depression mediates outcome. SETTING:A systematic review was undertaken. The search terms were entered into MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycInfo and the Cochrane library. PARTICIPANTS:Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to identify relevant papers. Inclusion criteria were children age <18, with CFS/ME, defined using CDC, NICE or Oxford criteria, and having completed a valid assessment for depression. RESULTS:9 studies were identified which met the inclusion criteria, but none specifically tested treatments for paediatric CFS/ME with depression and none stratified outcome for those who were depressed compared with those who were not depressed. There is no consistent treatment approach for children with CFS/ME and comorbid depression, although cognitive-behavioural therapy for CFS/ME and a multicomponent inpatient programme for CFS/ME have shown some promise in reducing depressive symptoms. An antiviral medication in a small scale, retrospective, uncontrolled study suggested possible benefit. CONCLUSIONS:It is not possible to determine what treatment approaches are effective for depression in paediatric CFS/ME, nor to determine the impact of depression on the outcome of CFS/ME treatment. Young people with significant depression tend to have been excluded from previous treatment studies.
Project description:Gulf War Illness affects 25-30% of American veterans deployed to the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and is characterized by cognitive post-exertional malaise following physical effort. Gulf War Illness remains controversial since cognitive post-exertional malaise is also present in the more common Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. An objective dissociation between neural substrates for cognitive post-exertional malaise in Gulf War Illness and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome would represent a biological basis for diagnostically distinguishing these two illnesses. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure neural activity in healthy controls and patients with Gulf War Illness and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome during an N-back working memory task both before and after exercise. Whole brain activation during working memory (2-Back?>?0-Back) was equal between groups prior to exercise. Exercise had no effect on neural activity in healthy controls yet caused deactivation within dorsal midbrain and cerebellar vermis in Gulf War Illness relative to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. Further, exercise caused increased activation among Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients within the dorsal midbrain, left operculo-insular cortex (Rolandic operculum) and right middle insula. These regions-of-interest underlie threat assessment, pain, interoception, negative emotion and vigilant attention. As they only emerge post-exercise, these regional differences likely represent neural substrates of cognitive post-exertional malaise useful for developing distinct diagnostic criteria for Gulf War Illness and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Anxiety is more prevalent in children with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) than in the general population. A systematic review was carried out to identify which treatment methods are most effective for children with CFS and anxiety. DESIGN:Systematic review using search terms entered into the Cochrane library and Ovid to search the databases Medline, Embase and psychINFO. PARTICIPANTS:Studies were selected if participants were <18 years old, diagnosed with CFS/ME (using US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence or Oxford criteria) and had a valid assessment of anxiety. INTERVENTIONS:We included observational studies and randomised controlled trials. COMPARISON:Any or none. OUTCOMES:Change in anxiety diagnostic status and/or change in anxiety severity on a validated measure of anxiety from pretreatment to post-treatment. RESULTS:The review identified nine papers from eight studies that met the inclusion criteria. None of the studies specifically targeted anxiety but six studies tested an intervention and measured anxiety as a secondary outcome. Of these studies, four used a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-type approach to treat CFS/ME, one used a behavioural approach and one compared a drug treatment, gammaglobulin with a placebo. Three of the CBT-type studies described an improvement in anxiety as did the trial of gammaglobulin. As none of the studies stratified outcomes according to anxiety diagnostic status or severity, we were unable to determine whether anxiety changed prognosis or whether treatments were equally effective in those with comorbid anxiety compared with those without. CONCLUSION:We do not know what treatment should be offered for children with both anxiety and CFS/ME. Further research is therefore required to answer this question. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:This review was registered on Prospective Register of Systematic Review Protocols (PROSPERO) and the protocol is available from http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.asp?ID=CRD42016043488.
Project description:Chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a relatively common and potentially serious condition with a limited evidence base for treatment. Specialist treatment for paediatric CFS/ME uses interventions recommended by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) including cognitive behavioural therapy, graded exercise therapy and activity management. The Lightning Process (LP) is a trademarked intervention derived from osteopathy, life-coaching and neuro-linguistic programming, delivered over three consecutive days as group sessions. Although over 250 children with CFS/ME attend LP courses each year, there are no reported studies on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness.This pragmatic randomised controlled trial is set within a specialist paediatric CFS/ME service in the south west of England. Children and young people with CFS/ME (n = 80 to 112), aged 12 to 18 years old will be randomised to specialist medical care (SMC) or SMC plus the LP. The primary outcome will be physical function (SF-36 physical function short form) and fatigue (Chalder Fatigue Scale).This study will tell us whether adding the LP to SMC is effective and cost-effective compared to SMC alone. This study will also provide detailed information on the implementation of the LP and SMC.Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN81456207 (31 July 2012).
Project description:Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a condition characterised by severe and persistent fatigue, neurological disturbances, autonomic and endocrine dysfunctions and sleep difficulties that have a pronounced and significant impact on individuals' lives. Current National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines within the UK suggest that this condition should be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy and/or graded exercise therapy, where appropriate. There is currently a lack of an evidence base concerning alternative techniques that may be beneficial to those with ME/CFS.This study aimed to investigate whether three modalities of psychology, nutrition and combined treatment influenced symptom report measures in those with ME/CFS over a 3-month time period and whether there were significant differences in these changes between groups.This is a preliminary prospective study with one follow-up point conducted at a private secondary healthcare facility in London, UK.138 individuals (110 females, 79.7%; 42 participants in psychology, 44 in nutrition and 52 in combined) participated at baseline and 72 participants completed the battery of measures at follow-up (52.17% response rate; 14, 27 and 31 participants in each group, respectively).Self-reported measures of ME/CFS symptoms, functional ability, multidimensional fatigue and perceived control.Baseline comparisons showed those in the combined group had higher levels of fatigue. At follow-up, all groups saw improvements in fatigue, functional ability and symptomatology; those within the psychology group also experienced a shift in perceived control over time.This study provides early evidence that psychological, nutritional and combined techniques for the treatment of ME/CFS may influence symptomatology, fatigue, function and perceived control. However, these results must be viewed with caution as the allocation to groups was not randomised, there was no control group and the study suffered from high drop-out rates.
Project description:BACKGROUND:What adolescents think about symptoms and what they do in response could contribute to fatigue maintenance. We compared the cognitive and behavioural responses of adolescents and their parents with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS; N?=?121) and asthma (N?=?27) and explored the predictive value of these variables on fatigue and functioning in CFS. METHOD:Consecutively referred adolescents with CFS were recruited. Questionnaires, completed by adolescents and parents, assessed fatigue, functioning, mood and cognitive and behavioural responses to symptoms. Age-matched adolescents with asthma completed the same questionnaires. Adolescents with CFS completed questionnaires again approximately 3?months later. RESULTS:Adolescents with CFS scored higher on all unhelpful cognitive and behavioural subscales than adolescents with asthma. Parents' cognitions about their child's symptoms were associated with adolescent's own cognitions. Unhelpful cognitive and behavioural responses, particularly, damage beliefs, predicted subsequent fatigue in CFS, and all-or-nothing behaviour, catastrophising and damage beliefs predicted subsequent physical functioning. CONCLUSION:Unhelpful cognitive and behavioural responses to symptoms appear to be particularly prominent in adolescents with CFS. There is some consistency but not a perfect match between cognitive and behavioural responses to symptoms reported by adolescents and their parents. These responses could be contributing to fatigue maintenance and disability.
Project description:Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex and debilitating disease with no molecular diagnostics and no treatment options. To identify potential markers of this illness, we profiled 48 patients and 52 controls for standard laboratory tests, plasma metabolomics, blood immuno-phenotyping and transcriptomics, and fecal microbiome analysis. Here, we identified a set of 26 potential molecular markers that distinguished ME/CFS patients from healthy controls. Monocyte number, microbiome abundance, and lipoprotein profiles appeared to be the most informative markers. When we correlated these molecular changes to sleep and cognitive measurements of fatigue, we found that lipoprotein and microbiome profiles most closely correlated with sleep disruption while a different set of markers correlated with a cognitive parameter. Sleep, lipoprotein, and microbiome changes occur early during the course of illness suggesting that these markers can be examined in a larger cohort for potential biomarker application. Our study points to a cluster of sleep-related molecular changes as a prominent feature of ME/CFS in our Japanese cohort.
Project description:Fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis is highly prevalent. It is correlated only weakly with disease activity but more so with pain, mood, personality features, poor sleep, obesity and comorbidities. Fatigue can be measured by many standardised questionnaires and more easily with a Visual Analogue Scale or numeric rating scale. Most patients with RA have some fatigue, and at least one in six have severe fatigue. Chronic pain and depressed mood are also common in RA patients with significant fatigue. It affects function and quality of life and is worse on average in women. Evidence-based treatment for fatigue includes treatment of underlying disease activity (with on average modest improvement of fatigue), exercise programmes and supervised self-management programmes with cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfulness and reinforcement (such as reminders). The specific programmes for exercise and behavioural interventions are not standardised. Some medications cause fatigue such as methotrexate. More research is needed to understand fatigue and how to treat this common complex symptom in RA that can be the worst symptom for some patients.
Project description:Changes in the terminology and diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis are explained in this paper. This syndrome is a complex and controversial entity of unknown origins. It appears in the medical literature in 1988, although clinical pictures of chronic idiopathic fatigue have been identified since the nineteenth century with different names, from neurasthenia, epidemic neuromyasthenia, and benign myalgic encephalomyelitis up to the current proposal of disease of intolerance to effort (post-effort). All of them allude to a chronic state of generalised fatigue of unknown origin, with limitations to physical and mental effort, accompanied by a set of symptoms that compromise diverse organic systems. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) places this syndrome in the section on neurological disorders (G93.3), although histopathological findings have not yet been found to clarify it. Multiple organic alterations have been documented, but a common biology that clarifies the mechanisms underlying this disease has not been established. It is defined as a neuro-immune-endocrine dysfunction, with an exclusively clinical diagnosis and by exclusion. Several authors have proposed to include CFS/ME within central sensitivity syndromes, alluding to central sensitisation as the common pathophysiological substrate for this, and other syndromes. The role of the family doctor is a key figure in the disease, from the detection of those patients who present a fatigue of unknown nature that is continuous or intermittent for more than 6 months, in order to make an early diagnosis and establish a plan of action against a chronic disease with high levels of morbidity in the physical and mental sphere. OBJECTIVE: To carry out a bibliographic review of the terminology and diagnostic criteria of the chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, in order to clarify the pathology conceptually, as a usefulness in the diagnosis of Primary Care physicians.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To better understand the maintenance of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a valid and reliable measure of cognitive and behavioural responses to symptoms is required. Such a measure could also assess beliefs and coping behaviours in the context of fatigue in other somatic conditions. AIMS:We aimed to establish the psychometric properties of both the Cognitive and Behavioural Responses Questionnaire (CBRQ) and its shortened version (CBRQ-S) in adolescents with CFS. METHOD:The full questionnaire was completed by a clinical cohort of adolescents (n = 121) presenting to specialist CFS units in the UK. RESULTS:Both the CBRQ and CBRQ-S had good internal consistency. The CBRQ scores were strongly associated with depression, anxiety, school and social functioning, but weakly associated with fatigue and physical functioning, providing evidence of validity. CONCLUSION:Both the 40-item and the 18-item versions of the CBRQ were found to be reliable and valid in adolescents with CFS. To minimize unnecessary burden, the 18-item version is favoured. Using this assessment tool in future studies, including intervention studies, may help to better target interventions during clinical practice and improve outcomes.