TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts | 14 August 2014

August 13, 2015

From the Journal of Health Psychology, 7 August 2015 (full text available).

Are Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome different illnesses? A preliminary analysis

Leonard A Jason(1), Madison Sunnquist(1), Abigail Brown(1), Meredyth Evans(1) and Julia L Newton(2).
1) Center for Community Research, DePaul University, USA
2) Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, UK
Corresponding author: Leonard A Jason, DePaul University, Center for Community Research, DePaul University, 990 W Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, USA. Email: ude.luaped@nosajl


Considerable discussion has transpired regarding whether chronic fatigue syndrome is a distinct illness from Myalgic EncephalomyelitiS.

A prior study contrasted the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis International Consensus Criteria (ME-ICC; Carruthers et al., 2011) with the Fukuda et al. (1994) CFS criteria and found that the ME-ICC identified a subset of patients with greater functional impairment and physical, mental, and cognitive problems than the larger group who met Fukuda et al. (1994) criteria (Brown et al., 2013).

The current study analyzed two discrete data sets and found that the ME-ICC identified more impaired individuals with more severe symptomatology.

From BMC Neurology, 12 August 2015 (full text available).


Testing the efficacy of web-based cognitive behavioural therapy for adult patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CBIT): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Anthonie Janse*, Margreet Worm-Smeitink, José Bussel-Lagarde, Gijs Bleijenberg, Stephanie Nikolaus and Hans Knoop
Expert Centre for Chronic Fatigue, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, 6500 HB, The Netherlands
*Corresponding author: Anthonie Janse



Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for fatigue and disabilities in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). However, treatment capacity is limited.

Providing web-based CBT and tailoring the amount of contact with the therapist to the individual needs of the patient may increase the efficiency of the intervention. Web-based CBT for adolescents with CFS has proven to be effective in reducing fatigue and increasing school attendance.

In the proposed study the efficacy of a web-based CBT intervention for adult patients with CFS will be explored. Two different formats of web-based CBT will be tested.

In the first format named protocol driven feedback, patients report on their progress and receive feedback from a therapist according to a preset schedule. In the second format named support on demand, feedback and support of the therapist is only given when patients ask for it.

The primary objective of the study is to determine the efficacy of a web-based CBT intervention on fatigue severity.


A randomized clinical trial will be conducted.

Two-hundred-forty adults who have been diagnosed with CFS according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consensus criteria will be recruited and randomized to one of three conditions: web-based CBT with protocol driven feedback, web-based CBT wit support on demand, or wait list.

Feedback will be delivered by therapists specialized in CBT for CFS. Each of the web-based CBT interventions will be compared to a wait list condition with respect to its effect on the primary outcome measure; fatigue severity.

Secondary outcome measures are level of disability, physical functioning, psychological distress, and the proportion of patients with clinical significant improvement in fatigue severity.

Outcomes will be assessed at baseline and six months post randomization. The web-based CBT formats will be compared with respect to the time therapists need to deliver the intervention.


As far as we know this is the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) that evaluates the efficacy of a web-based CBT intervention for adult patients with CFS.

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