We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website and bring you more relevant advertising.

Learn more about cookies

Family

Good food guide

4:00pm Thursday 21st September 2017 content supplied byNHS Choices

This was followed by a group session in which participants were asked to think about what they could take responsibility for and change.

The third was a practical session in which participants were asked to choose a goal they wished to achieve, such as being able to stand for a longer period of time. They were given different thinking strategies to perform before and during attempting to achieve the goal. They also chose a further goal, to be attempted at home.

Each participant was offered two follow-up phone calls.

Outcomes assessed were:

  • physical function, measured using the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey Physical Function Subscale (SF-36-PFS)
  • quality of life using quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), measured using the EQ-5D-Y standardised instrument
  • fatigue, using the Chalder Fatigue Scale
  • pain, using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS)
  • anxiety and depression, using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)
  • school attendance (days per week)
  • child's use of health services, educational services or health-related travel, and other family costs, using a questionnaire

What were the basic results?

At six months after randomisation, data from 81 participants showed that those in the SMC-plus-LP group were:

More active

They had better physical function compared with the SMC-only group according to the SF-36-PFS scale of 0 to 100, where lower scores indicate worse physical function. The SMC-plus-LP group's average increased from a baseline of 53 to 81.7, and the SMC-only group's increased from 56 to 70.2 (adjusted difference in means 12.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.5 to 20.5).

Less fatigued

They had less fatigue, scoring 14.4 compared with 19.8 in the SMC-only group on a scale of 0 to 33, where higher scores indicate more fatigue (adjusted difference in means 4.7, 95% CI 7.9 to 1.6).

Less anxious

They had greater improvement in anxiety symptoms as measured by the HADS (scored from 0 to 21, with higher scores indicating worse symptoms) than the SMC-only group. The SMC-plus-LP average score was 6.1, compared with 9.0 for the SMC-only group (adjusted difference in means 3.3, 95% CI 5.6 to 1).

At 12 months after randomisation, data from 79 participants showed that the SMC-plus-LP-group were:

More active, less fatigued and less anxious

They still had better physical function, less fatigue and improved anxiety symptoms compared with the SMC-only group.

Feeling better

The SMC-plus-LP group also had greater improvement in depression symptoms on the HADS - scored from 0 to 21, with higher scores indicating more-severe symptoms (adjusted difference in means -1.7, 95% CI -3.3 to -0.2).

Attending school more often

School attendance, as measured by attendance in the previous week, was better for the SMC-plus-LP group, at 4.1 days on average, than the SMC-only group's 3.1 days (adjusted difference in means 0.9, 95% CI 0.2 to 1.6).

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded: "This is the first randomised trial investigating the effectiveness of the LP for any condition. It is the first trial that has demonstrated the effectiveness of an intervention other than CBT for paediatric CFS/ME.

"The addition of the LP to SMC improved physical function at 6 and 12 months in adolescents with CFS/ME and this difference increased at 12 months."

Conclusion

The results from this very small randomised controlled trial showed that people having LP therapy in addition to usual CFS/ME care had improved physical function, fatigue and anxiety symptoms at six months, and improved school attendance and depressive symptoms at 12 months.

However, there are a number of limitations to this research that need to be considered:

  • Participants in both groups improved, so both treatments were effective to some extent.
  • This was a very small trial, and the results analysis involved fewer than the 100 people recruited. It would need to be repeated in a much larger group to demonstrate more robust findings.
  • A number of outcomes were looked at, so it was very likely that some of them would return positive findings by chance - the improvements might not have been due to the LP therapy.
  • Participants were not blinded - they were aware of the group they were in; therefore, their self-reported outcomes might have been biased. They may have been more likely to report positive outcomes because they knew they were getting additional therapy in the LP group.
  • Of all those eligible to participate in the trial, fewer than 30% agreed to take part. The reason why the majority didn't want to is unknown.

As the LP therapy was given in addition to the usual CFS/ME care, it certainly cannot be suggested as a replacement for the current usual care.

There's no single way of managing CFS/ME that works for everyone and, if you have the condition, you should be offered a treatment plan based on your symptoms. Your doctor should discuss all options with you and make you aware of any benefits and risks.

Summary

"Controversial Lightning Process 'helps children with chronic fatigue syndrome'," reports The Guardian. A UK study investigated whether a treatment called the Lightning Process helped teenagers being treated for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Links to Headlines

Chronic fatigue therapy 'could help teenagers', study says. BBC News, September 21 2017

Controversial 'light' treatment for young ME patients - endorsed by celebrities - DOES work despite being labelled as 'quack medicine'. Mail Online, September 21 2017

Controversial Lightning Process 'helps children with chronic fatigue syndrome'. The Guardian, September 20 2017

M.E. 'Lightning Process' trains the brain to ward off tired thoughts. The Daily Telegraph, September 20 2017

Links to Science

Crawley EM, Gaunt DM, Garfield K, et al. Clinical and cost-effectiveness of the Lightning Process in addition to specialist medical care for paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome: randomised controlled trial. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Published online September 20 2017

 

Family food interactive guides

Find more interactive guides in our family health section