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A Study Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Therapies Is Debunked (Again)

Tuesday 20 December 2016


From Undark:



A Study of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Therapies Is Debunked (Again)

A new analysis of a 2011 study that supported dubious treatments for the disease finds that its conclusions were “not justified by the data.”

By David Tuller
12 December 2016
Copyright 2016 Undark

Two widely prescribed treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome — cognitive behavior therapy, and a steady increase in activity known as “graded exercise therapy” — provide no benefit to patients. That’s the stark conclusion of a new reanalysis of data from the so-called PACE trial, the largest study of treatments for the illness, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME/CFS.

The PACE trial’s main results were published in The Lancet in 2011 and the journal Psychological Medicine in 2013. In the latter paper, the authors claimed that 22 percent of those who received either treatment “recovered,” about three times the rate in the study’s two other groups. The trial’s results have been hugely influential around the world. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as major medical centers like the Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente have long promoted the therapies, as Undark reported in a recent investigation.

But the trial has been mired in controversy for years. According to a growing chorus of well-regarded scientists and other experts, it suffered from egregious and disqualifying flaws. In the PACE trial protocol, the authors outlined four criteria that participants needed to meet in order to be considered “recovered.” In the 2013 paper, they dramatically weakened all four criteria, making it far easier to reach the “recovery” thresholds. In a bizarre paradox, some participants even qualified as “recovered” on two of the four criteria — measures of fatigue and physical function — at the start of the study, before undergoing any treatment at all.


Full article…



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