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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00720

A 4-day mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural intervention program for CFS/ME. An open study, with one-year follow-up.

 Bjarte Stubhaug1, 2*, Haldis O. Lier1, Jorg Assmus2,  Arvid Rongve1, 2 and  Gerd Kvale2, 3
  • 1Fonna Hospital Trust, Norway
  • 2University of Bergen, Norway
  • 3Helse Bergen HF, Haukeland University Hospital, Norway

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalopathy (CFS/ME) is an incapacitating illness for which no single treatment has been proven universally effective. The aims of this study were to: (1) explore the clinical course for patients with CFS/ME following a four day concentrated treatment program, (2) evaluate the clinical short and long term changes from pre- to post-intervention and (3) evaluate the satisfaction with the program.
305 patients, all fulfilling the Oxford criteria for CFS/ME, referred to a specialist outpatient clinic in a concentrated group intervention program, participated in an open uncontrolled study comprised by education, mindfulness sessions, cognitive group therapy sessions, physical activity and writing sessions, within a context of a mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural treatment model. Assessments were done by self-reports prior to the first consultation, one week before and one week after the intervention programme, and at 3 months and one year after the intervention. SPSS 23 and R 3.3 were used for statistical analyses. The associations between case definitions and the outcome measures (fatigue, SF-36 physical scale) were assessed by a linear mixed effects model (LME).
None of the patients dropped out of the program, and overall expressed high satisfaction with the content, focus and amount of treatment. Results showed significant clinical changes for 80% after the intervention, changes being sustained through one year after the program. Using the criteria from the PACE study concerning inclusion (Fatigue Scale >6/11, SF-36 Physical Function <65/100) and improvement, changes were statistically significant (p<.001). For both Fatigue Scale (FS) and the SF-36 there were significant effects of time from baseline to all time points with a significant drop in scores, applying the linear mixed effects model.
Clinical changes observed from pre-treatment to one year follow-up could represent effects of the 4-days concentrated intervention program, and should be further explored in a controlled study.

Keywords: Cognitive - behavioral therapy, Myalgic encephalitis (ME), mindfulness acceptance commitment approach, 4-days concentrated treatment program, Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), CFS/ME

Received: 09 Aug 2018; Accepted: 06 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Michael Noll-Hussong, Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Germany

Reviewed by:

Andreas Dinkel, Technische Universität München, Germany
Rosa Magallon, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
Francisco José Eiroa-Orosa, University of Barcelona, Spain  

Copyright: © 2018 Stubhaug, Lier, Assmus, Rongve and Kvale. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: MD, PhD. Bjarte Stubhaug, Fonna Hospital Trust, Haugesund, 5508, Norway,