Mayo Trial Concludes Amygdala Retraining Can Support Improvements for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia Patients

A Mind-Body Technique for Symptoms Related to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue
– Source: Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Mar-Apr 2012

by Loren L Toussaint, et al.

By way of introduction, Amygdala Retraining Program™ developer Ashok Gupta writes:

“I am pleased to announce that our small initial pilot study by the Mayo Clinic in the USA has just been published. Although we were not involved in the delivery of the treatment and have added several new supporting treatments since the study, it still demonstrates that Amygdala Retraining was considerably more effective than the standard care for fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. The ‘standard care’ involved medical and pharmacological assessments, cognitive behavioral therapy, graded exercise, etc. Our intention now is to fund larger studies.”

[Note: It’s worth observing that this therapy is not passively received. It requires sustained, assiduous patient involvement in learning and practice, a factor that in itself may influence drop-outs.]

Context: A novel mind–body approach (amygdala retraining) is hypothesized to improve symptoms related to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue [syndrome].

To examine the use of a mind-body approach for improving symptoms related to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

This was a single-blind, randomized controlled trial.

The study was conducted in a tertiary-care fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue clinic. [Specialty clinic served by Mayo physicians.]

Patients with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or both were included.

Patients were randomly assigned to receive amygdala retraining along with standard care or standard care alone.

Standard care involved attending a 1.5-day multidisciplinary program [and therapies noted in the introduction].

The amygdala retraining group received an additional 2.5-hour training course in which the key tools and techniques adapted from an existing program were taught to the patient. A home-study video course and associated text were provided to supplement the on-site program.

Both groups received telephone calls twice a month to answer questions related to technique and to provide support.

Main Outcome Measures:
Validated self-report questionnaires related to general health, well-being, and symptoms, including Short Form-36, Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile, Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire.

Results: Of the 44 patients randomly assigned who completed baseline assessments, 21 patients completed the study (14 in the standard care group and 7 in the study group).

Median age was 48 years (range, 27-56 years), and female subjects comprised 91% of the group.

Analyses demonstrated statistically significant improvements in scores for:
• Physical health,
• Energy,
• Pain,
• Symptom distress,
• And fatigue…
…in patients who received the amygdala retraining compared with standard care.

Source: Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, March-April 2012; 8:92-98. Toussaint LL, Whipple BA, Abboud LL, Vincent A, Wahner-Roedler DL. Dept of Psychology, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa; Division of General Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. [Email:]

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