Professor Michael Sharpe, co-author of the Pacing, Activity, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Evaluation (PACE) study, said that the results should act to end the controversy over the treatments, as some patient groups insist that exercise does more harm than good. However, half of the patients in the study reported returning to normal energy levels.
Professor Sharpe said, “Our hope is the evidence from this trial, which is the largest trial done in this condition, gives some solid evidence about what treatments help and importantly that those treatments are safe. People have quite rightly been unclear what treatments help and have been worried whether they are safe. This trial should actually answer those concerns.”
The research looked at 640 patients who all received hospital care. Some were also given graded exercise therapy, with a psychotherapist gradually increasing their activity levels, whilst others were offered cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
However, those that were given another widely used treatment, adaptive pacing therapy, failed to show any significant improvement. The treatment instructs sufferers to match their activity levels to their energy levels. It is also widely supported by a number of patient groups.
The results of the benefits of graded exercise and CBT were welcomed by the Association of Young People with ME; however, the organisation, Action for ME, claimed the research findings had been exaggerated.
Original article from Sky News.