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Abstract: Randomised controlled trial of graded exercise in chronic fatigue syndrome

  [ 74 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • April 30, 2004

Med J Aust. 2004 May 3;180(9):444-8. Wallman KE, Morton AR, Goodman C, Grove R, Guilfoyle AM. School of Human Movement and Exercise Science, University of Western Australia, Stirling Highway, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether 12 weeks of graded exercise with pacing would improve specific physiological, psychological and cognitive functions in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). DESIGN: Randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Human performance laboratory at the University of Western Australia. PARTICIPANTS: 61 patients aged between 16 and 74 years diagnosed with CFS. INTERVENTIONS: Either graded exercise with pacing (32 patients) or relaxation/flexibility therapy (29 patients) performed twice a day over 12 weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in any of the physiological, psychological or cognitive variables assessed. RESULTS: Following the graded exercise intervention, scores were improved for resting systolic blood pressure (P = 0.018), work capacity ( (P = 0.019), net blood lactate production (P = 0.036), depression (P = 0.027) and performance on a modified Stroop Colour Word test (P = 0.029). Rating of perceived exertion scores, associated with an exercise test, was lower after graded exercise (P = 0.013). No such changes were observed in the relaxation/flexibility condition, which served as an attention-placebo control. CONCLUSIONS: Graded exercise was associated with improvements in physical work capacity, as well as in specific psychological and cognitive variables. Improvements may be associated with the abandonment of avoidance behaviours. PMID: 15115421 [PubMed - in process]

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