Re: People want to learn as much as possible from the PACE trial for chronic fatigue syndrome
In recent correspondence with BMJ I have referred to an exercise program which I designed in 1982 to study the effects of regular exercise on chronic fatigue.
However, although it was reported in local and interstate Australian newspapers, the research paper which I prepared to summarise the findings has not previously been published in a medical journal, therefore, rather than discuss more details, I will present that paper here, as an attachment, for anyone who wishes to read more.
Some minor editing has been made to improve the original text and update the terminology but the description of the methodology is clear and can be readily re-tested and verified.
One of the objectives of the project was to overcome a previous problem where international researchers were not able to determine the physiological effects of regular exercise because the patients could not or would not train for 12 weeks.
In order to achieve that objective those who participated were given instructions to start at a low level, and, for example, to walk, jog, or run at their own pace, and stay within their own limits where symptoms were not a problem, and, to improve in a gradual manner, if and when they could. They were also instructed to slow down if they had any problems, and to stop and rest if necessary, for a few minutes or more, or for however long was required. They could also stop training and leave the project if they wished, or return at whatever time they wanted. They were asked to report any adverse effects if they had any, but none did.
Ultimately 25 attended medicals and had their aerobic capacity measured. Nine completed twelve weeks training, and of those, five continued to complete six months training or more. Their aerobic capacity was re-measured at 12 weekly intervals.
It was therefore possible to determine the physiological effects of regular training, and anyone who used those methods in the future would be able to asses any aspect of physiology that they wished to study.
The 1982 project included other aspects, including phone interviews with 48 of those who participated to determine what they thought was the cause, so a summary of that is also included in the attachment.
Competing interests: No competing interests