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 CFS  Holistic-online.com

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Behavioral Therapy, Such as Exercise, May Help Chronic Fatigue

Research on chronic fatigue syndrome indicates that behavior-based therapies, including exercise, may be among the most effective treatments, but data are deficient and scarce, a review suggests.

The review, which evaluated 44 studies from 1986 through last year, appeared in September 19, 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

While evidence on medications is less conclusive than behavioral approaches, research into treatments has been hampered by a lack of consensus on what causes the disease and even who is afflicted with it, according to the review.

The review generally showed mixed results, and most treatments have been evaluated in only one or two studies, said lead author Penny Whiting of the University of York in England and colleagues.

Cognitive behavioral therapy such as counseling in coping strategies such as stress management and a program of gradually increasing exercise, showed the most promising results.

Whiting said that more limited benefits were found with drugs designed to stimulate the immune system and steroids such as hydrocortisone, used to treat deficiencies in production of cortisol, a hormone involved in immune system function.

Behavioral therapy has also been used to treat physical illnesses such as heart disease and multiple sclerosis.

About 800,000 U.S. adults are believed to have CFS; women, Hispanics and blacks are disproportionately affected.

Abnormalities in the body's disease-fighting immune system have been found in many patients, and some researchers think viruses or defects in the body's ability to regulate blood pressure can trigger the disease. The diagnosis is generally made by excluding other illnesses.

Related Topics:

Individual counseling

Exercise

Psychotherapy

Relaxation Training

Stress Management

Source: Associated Press, American Medical Association

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