Claims and anecdotal evidence aside, are any treatments, medical specialties/ philosophies, or even individual doctors able to achieve superior results for patients with ‘unexplained chronic fatigue’ (UCF)? And are there patient characteristics that support superior results?
(UCF is defined as 6 months or more severe debilitating fatigue and “no organic, psychological or lifestyle problems that are the primary disorder or likely to be the cause of the fatigue.")
To find out, researchers at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, will track the progress of 240 patients with unexplained chronic fatigue (expressly including those diagnosed with CFS, ME, and idiopathic chronic fatigue, or ICF) and managed by participating groups of physicians in four categories:
• MDs trained in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). (Called ‘integrative medicine.’ Can include biologically based practices such as foods & supplements, energy medicine techniques such as healing touch, manipulation/ massage, and mind-body techniques such as meditation & yoga.)
• Naturopathic doctors (non-MDs trained in special naturopathic schools). “Naturopathic physicians craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but to also restore health,” according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
• MDs who specialize in treating chronic fatigue and related conditions.
• A control group of MDs in practice-based research networks.
Specific Aims of This Comparison
According to the study description:
“Our rationale for this comparison is that its successful completion will potentially guide future searches for effective medical strategies for the treatment of UCF that may have been developed outside the mainstream medical community.
“It may also provide necessary information for follow-up studies that will help to identify specific effective treatments. This information includes:
• Which clinicians provide the best treatments (as evidenced by having patients with the best results)?
• What are the characteristics of patients who respond to a particular treatment?
• How might the data collection procedures need to be refined?
• What sample sizes are necessary?”
For more information and for contact info to enquire about possible participation in this six-month study, see the Clinical Trials.gov listing for Pilot Study of Alternative Treatments of Unexplained Chronic Fatigue (ID: NCT00983502) at www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00983502