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Fibromyalgia Symptom Reduction by Online Behavioral Self-monitoring, Longitudinal Single Subject Analysis and Automated Delivery of Individualized Guidance.
BACKGROUND: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex chronic pain condition that is difficult to treat. The prevailing approach is an integration of pharmacological, psycho-educational, and behavioral strategies. Information technology offers great potential for FM sufferers to systemically monitor symptoms as well as potential impacts of various management strategies.
AIMS: This study aimed to evaluate effects of a web-based, self-monitoring and symptom management system (SMARTLog) that analyzes personal self-monitoring data and delivers data-based feedback over time.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subjects were self-referred, anonymous, and recruited via publicity on FM advocacy websites. Standardized instruments assessed health status, self-efficacy, and locus of control at baseline and monthly during participation. Subjects were encouraged to complete the SMARTLog several times weekly. Within-subject, univariate, and multivariate analyses were used to derive classification trees for each user associating specific behavior variables with symptom levels over time.
RESULTS: Moderate use (3 times weekly x 3 months) increased likelihood of clinically significant improvements in pain, memory, gastrointestinal problems, depression, fatigue, and concentration; heavy use (4.5 times weekly x five months) produced the above plus improvement in stiffness and sleep difficulties.
CONCLUSIONS: Individualized, web-based behavioral self-monitoring with personally-tailored feedback can enable FM sufferers to significantly reduce symptom levels over time.
Source: North American Journal of Medical Sciences, September 2013. By William Collinge, Paul Yarnold and Robert Soltysik. Collinge and Associates, Eugene, OR, USA.