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expert reaction to new research into therapies for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME

The latest results from the PACE trial, published in Psychological Medicine, show that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET), as supplements to specialist medical care, increase the likelihood of recovery from CFS three-fold compared to other treatments studied.


Dr Esther Crawley, Reader in Child Health, University of Bristol, said:

“Every patient with CFS/ME wants to know how likely they are to recover. This large, well conducted trial shows convincingly that adult patients who receive cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or graded exercise therapy (GET) have a much greater chance of recovery than those who see a doctor alone, or who are treated with adaptive pacing. It is sobering to see that, even with the best possible treatment, only 22% of patients recovered.

“Although the authors worked hard to define recovery based on the data available from the PACE trial, we need further research to understand what recovery means for patients with CFS/ME, and how to measure it in future studies.”


Prof Willie Hamilton, Professor of Primary Care Diagnostics, University of Exeter, said:

“This paper is excellent news. The early reports showed that graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy had better outcomes. What’s new here is the prospect of recovery. At times with CFS/ME patients it’s easy to get despondent. Sure, only a fifth of patients fully recovered, but – as the authors say – we can work hard on finding better treatments for the other four fifths.”


Dr Alastair Miller, Consultant in Infectious Disease, Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Deputy Chair British Association for CFS/ME (BACME), said:

“This is another encouraging result to come out of the “PACE stable” showing that recovery from CFS/ME is not only possible but considerably more likely with the current therapeutic approaches of cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy. Whilst it is well recognised that these techniques will not benefit everyone and further research into alternative approaches continues to be a priority, these results add to the growing evidence base for our current therapeutic strategy.”



‘Recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome after 2 treatments given in the PACE trial’ by P. White et al., published in Psychological Medicine on Thursday 31 January 2013.

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