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To exercise or not to exercise in chronic fatigue syndrome?

Garry C Scroop and Richard B Burnet
Med J Aust 2004; 181 (10): 578-580.
Published online: 15 November 2004

To the Editor: A recent editorial1 and article2 continue to promulgate and link the unproven concepts that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are “deconditioned” and exercise is beneficial in treatment. The cited study by Fulcher and White3 is open to opposite conclusions, depending on their use of the outcome descriptor “better”. If the term is restricted to “much better” and “very much better”, then, as cited by Lloyd,1 16 of 29 people with CFS rated themselves as “better” after a graded exercise program, compared with only 8 of 30 in the control group who completed a flexibility treatment regimen. However, if the “better” descriptor combines “a little better”, “much better” and “very much better”, which is the interpretation used by Wallman et al,2 then the scores for the exercise versus flexibility groups are not different, being 27 of 29 and 26 of 30, respectively, agreeing with the conclusion of Wallman et al.2

  • Garry C Scroop1
  • Richard B Burnet2

  • 1 Department of Thoracic Medicine. Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA 5000
  • 2 Endocrinologist, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA 5000


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