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Professor Receives NIH Grant for CFS

Fred Friedberg
Fred Friedberg

Fred Friedberg, Research Associate Professor and Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, through the State University of New York Research Foundation, received a $600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue testing a home-based self management program for people with chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

The NIH grant runs for two years, effective until the end of August 2013. In 2008 Friedberg, principal investigator, received an initial one-year $100,000 NIH grant to launch the home-based self management program for chronic fatigue and CFS patients, with the expectation of learning how to help patients more effectively manage their conditions.

“There are no effective and established medical treatments for these illnesses, and the behavioral program is intended to help patients function and feel better,” said Friedberg, pointing out that the causes of chronic fatigue and CFS are still unknown.

CFS remains a controversial illness. Yet, the NIH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have designated CFS as an important public health issue and recognize the need to better define, diagnose, and treat the illness. For more on CFS, see this CDC link.

“Cognitive-behavioral treatment, a type of stress management training combined with low-level exercise, has shown promise to help people with CFS cope better and lessen illness severity,” said Friedberg. “This ongoing study tests a home-based version of cognitive-behavioral treatment that is based on a self-help model of illness management. We also want to see if this type of intervention saves health care costs, an important issue because of the ever increasing expenditures for health care.”

The self-help program involves lifestyle change and stress reduction techniques, including graduated exercise, relaxation, pacing techniques, cognitive coping skills, low effort pleasant activities, and social support. All of the treatment components, individually and in combination, may help patients with CFS.

Recruitment of additional patients, who must be fatigued for at least six months, is underway. The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science will spearhead the analysis of the study’s entire findings.

For individuals interested in the study and participating, please call Friedberg at (631) 632-8252.

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