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Fred Friedberg, PhD, Receives $600,000 NIH Grant to Study Home-Based Self-Management for Chronic Fatigue

Fred Friedberg, PhDFred Friedberg, PhD, received a two-year grant of $600,000 from the National Institute of Nursing Research to study the efficacy of a home-based self-management programs for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). If the program proves successful and cost effective, it will be marketed to health insurers and others for commercial development. The program is an outgrowth of an on-going research and treatment program conducted by Dr. Friedberg at the Stony Brook Department of Medicine’s Primary Care practice.

People with chronic fatigue syndrome experience severe and debilitating tiredness which is not relieved by sleep and not directly caused by other medical conditions. Its causes are not known, but it is thought to have both biological and behavioral origins. People with CFS experience an abnormal type of fatigue that impairs their ability to work or carry out routine activities. Extreme cases can result in people becoming home-bound or bed-bound. Medications may help with symptoms, but for many patients a program of effective self-management is essential for improvement.

Dr. Friedberg’s research will test the relative effectiveness of a two active self-treatment models, both of which are carried out by patients from their homes. A “high-tech” model includes a self-management product that uses web diaries and actigraphs, which are small electronic sensors worn on the wrist to measure body activity. A “low-tech” model will employ paper forms and step counters (pedometers). Dr. Friedberg hopes to show that the use of these programs will lessen fatigue, improve functioning, and save health care costs.

Dr. Friedberg is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University.