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A real-time assessment of the effect of exercise in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  [ 249 votes ]   [ 8 Comments ]
By K Yoshiuchi, et al. • www.ProHealth.com • July 28, 2007


Journal: Physiology & Behavior. 2007 Jul 24; [E-publication ahead of print]

Authors and affiliations: Yoshiuchi K, Cook DB, Ohashi K, Kumano H, Kuboki T, Yamamoto Y, Natelson BH. Department of Neurosciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - New Jersey Medical School, USA; Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, the University of Tokyo, Japan.

PMID: 17655887

Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) report substantial symptom worsening after exercise. However, the time course over which this develops has not been explored.

Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the influence of exercise on subjective symptoms and on cognitive function in CFS patients in natural settings using a computerized ecological momentary assessment method, which allowed us to track the effects of exercise within and across days.

Subjects were 9 female patients with CFS and 9 healthy women. A watch-type computer was used to collect real-time data on physical and psychological symptoms and cognitive function for 1 week before and 2 weeks after a maximal exercise test. For each variable, we investigated temporal changes after exercise using multilevel modeling.

Following exercise, physical symptoms did get worse but not until a five-day delay in CFS patients. Despite this, there was no difference in the temporal pattern of changes in psychological symptoms or in cognitive function after exercise between CFS patients and controls.

In conclusion, physical symptoms worsened after several days delay in patients with CFS following exercise while psychological symptoms or cognitive function did not change after exercise.





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Article Comments Post a Comment

I totally disagree
Posted by: Laughsalot
Aug 1, 2007
I've had CFS for 9 years, and my experience with exercise has been the complete opposite of what the article reported. Both my cognitive function and body have crashed the day after heavy exercise, and those symptoms have lasted for 5-7 days. Has anyone else experienced what the article reported? Also, why did the researchers think they could make a definitive conclusion after studying only 9 women? 9??? Out of all the women who have CFS? That seems like an awfully small sample.
Reply Reply

 
A waste of time study
Posted by: adamd01
Aug 2, 2007
A ridiculously small sample I agree. As someone who suffered for many years, I know that, when I was seriously ill, a small amount of work would knock me flat for days. Now I am much better I go running each week (5 - 7 miles usually) and can cope with it fine. My Wife also had ME - as we called it here in the UK at the time - and the effect of exercise on her was different. An employee here at work looks after his ill mother who is almost bed-ridden. When she feels a little bit better and does just a little something, she is back into bed for days again.

For me, acupuncture was the cure although I have to go every few weeks. For my wife, acupuncture never did really work. For both of us who were given the ME label by "Western Medicine", we had completely different diagnoses from Chinese medicine.

For anyone who reads this, of you have ME/CFS. There CAN be a cure. Learn to do what your body is telling you and don't listen to the experts. A chronic condition will take time - don't be in a hurry for an instant fix! In my opinion, most doctors don't know what they are talking about!

 

 
Fibro and exercise...for me...like pouring salt on a open wound
Posted by: dscheid
Aug 1, 2007
I don't know if that's a good analogy, but after having Fibro most all my life and just dx'd last year, I wondered if increasing my activity would help lessen the pain and tightness. I was soooo wrong. I went to a gym, cycled for 25 minutes at a very light pace, then walked on the treadmill for 15 min.. I felt o.k. after doing it and even had a little sweat on my brow. The next morning, instead of the usual feeling of being run over by a truck, I felt like 2 or 3 had run over me. I had to sleep for about 20 hours to 'get over' my exercise. Only 1 1/2 years ago, I used to do heavy gardening with heavy equipment, etc.. I can't even lift the pots and pans in my kitchen now. So depressing. My husband thinks 'it's all in my mind' and stays mad at me all the time. I wish he could feel like I do for even 1 hour. He might understand then. I doubt it. At least God listens to me, but lately, I keep asking him why there's so much pain, and "Can't I have a break for just ONE day?"

Dani

 


I totally disagree
Posted by: mathetesjc
Aug 1, 2007
I agree vehemently with laughsalot! After exercise or overdoing I not only experience relapse of CFS symptoms with fever but I feel emotionally and mentally exhausted. I can not even read a book; the words seem to swim on the page and my eyes won't focus. I am so light and sound sensitive I have to lay in my bed with it as dark as possible. I am too irritable to be around people, if I want them to still like me. I feel confused and can not organize two actions or two throughts. I used to be an organziational freak who drove my spouse crazy with it. After a few hours of total quiet and bed rest in my room with the door closed I can then have the TV on with the volume low to fight the boredom. I am going to send this article to a rheumatologist who kept making fun of this idea of post exhertional malaise and treated me like a lazy, whoosey malcontent who was using this as an excuse to not exercise and do nothing. I happen to be a dancer and exercise freak now trapped in a body that rebels if I do what I love, and running was my stress reducer. This is a real problem for those of us with both CFS and Fibromyalgia. Exercise indeed helps the Fibromyalgia but will do the above to my CFS. Finding a way to pace and rest is an excrutiatingly fine balance.
Reply Reply

 
Spinning head
Posted by: adamd01
Aug 2, 2007
The symptoms you describe are exactly as mine used to be. They are now 90% better. I do get a swimming head now and again and I do have a problem with 'word-tripping' when I can't get the words out or use the wrong word and I DO get grumpy and give the children a hard time! (But then who doesn't)! However I can now work 40+ hours a week and go running at the weekend. By the way, I found reading a good book better than watching TV. Best wishes!

 


poor study
Posted by: 545
Aug 1, 2007
It's very important to understand post-exertional malaise, but this study had poor methods. Consider, first, that all the measures were subjective, most likely self-reported. Just because these self-reports were systematically collected for over week doesn't really help us understand what was going on. Moreover, note that their maximal exercise test is most likely based on the participants' baseline measures. Even though I've only read what ImmuneSupport provided, patients' performance on one of these tests is likely to be qualitatively different from healthy participants' performance, due to differences in resting heartrates, heartrate increases, and other variables. Depending on how they did it, my guess is that the maximal exercise test was not very strenuous for either of the participants, and it was probably shorter for those with CFS. But that's just my guess. The researchers seemed to be asking whether post-exertional malaise exists at all, which is a bit of a silly question; it's like asking whether hunger exists. It needs to be assumed that the million or so patient with CFS aren't lying, and we need to work from there. The result that it takes up to five days to see the subjective effect of exercise doesn't make any sense in terms of our knowledge of exercise or our knowlege of post-exertional malaise. The fault most likely lies with the study methods.
Reply Reply

 
Daft study
Posted by: adamd01
Aug 2, 2007
Why is it that there are all these waste of time studies going on? Either they contradict what tens of thousands of people are telling their doctors or are a statement of the bleedin' obvious. If our "health professionals" actually listened to patients rather than having a closed mind and then deciding to conduct a test to prove their own blinkered thinking then we might be better off!

A ridiculously small sample I agree. As someone who suffered for many years, I know that, when I was seriously ill, a small amount of work would knock me flat for days. Now I am much better I go running each week (5 - 7 miles usually) and can cope with it fine. My Wife also had ME - as we called it here in the UK at the time - and the effect of exercise on her was different. An employee here at work looks after his ill mother who is almost bed-ridden. When she feels a little bit better and does just a little something, she is back into bed for days again. For me, acupuncture was the cure although I have to go every few weeks. For my wife, acupuncture never did really work. For both of us who were given the ME label by "Western Medicine", we had completely different diagnoses from Chinese medicine. For anyone who reads this, of you have ME/CFS. There CAN be a cure. Learn to do what your body is telling you and don't listen to the experts. A chronic condition will take time - don't be in a hurry for an instant fix! In my opinion, most doctors don't know what they are talking about!

 



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