-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
THURSDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Teens with chronic fatigue
syndrome, which can cause poor concentration and memory as well as
joint and muscle pain, may benefit from an Internet-based treatment
known as FITNET, a new study has found.
Researchers in the Netherlands studied teens with the
debilitating condition and found that 63 percent reported that they
felt better or had recovered after six months of the Web-based
therapy, according to the report published online March 1 in
FITNET gave the teens electronic access to cognitive behavior
therapy, which has shown promising results for this age group.
"With FITNET, effective treatment is within reach for any adolescent with [chronic fatigue syndrome]. These findings stress the need for proper and rapid diagnosis and making medical professionals aware of adolescent [chronic fatigue syndrome] and the treatment options," study author Sanne Nijhof, from the University Medical Centre Utrecht, said in a journal news release.
In the study, which included 135 teens who suffered from the
syndrome for nearly two years, patients were randomly assigned to
receive either FITNET or standard therapy, largely consisting of
individual and group cognitive behavior therapy or exercise
The teens also completed questionnaires on how their treatment
affected their fatigue, physical functioning and self-rated
improvement. The researchers also took into account the students'
After six months, 85 percent of the teens using the Web-based
therapy reported their severe fatigue was gone, while 27 percent of
the teens using the standard treatment said the same. Meanwhile, 78
percent of the FITNET teens reported normal physical functioning,
compared to 20 percent of the standard therapy group, the
The researchers also noted that 75 percent of the FITNET teens
had full school attendance, compared with 16 percent of their peers
receiving standard therapy. Teens who switched to FITNET or
continued using the Web-based therapy for another six months
enjoyed similar positive results, the findings showed.
"Internet-based treatment has general advantages: it is available at any time, avoids face-to-face treatment barriers (i.e., treatment delay due to poor accessibility, inconvenience of scheduling appointments, missing school or work, traveling to or from a clinician's office), and reduces treatment time and costs," Nijhof and colleagues said in the news release.
"FITNET offers a readily accessible and highly effective treatment for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome. The results of this study justify implementation on a broader scale," they concluded.
The authors of an accompanying journal said "the investigators
should be congratulated on testing a way to deliver an already
effective treatment [cognitive behavior therapy] more
The goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to understand how your
thoughts can influence your stress and symptoms.
The Nemours Foundation has more about
chronic fatigue syndrome and kids.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.