A study of a new online symptom reduction program for fibromyalgia and other chronic health conditions, sponsored by the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (grant #R44AR052640-02), has been completed.
The Fibromyalgia Wellness Project evaluated a novel approach to using personal health informatics to help users become more aware of how they can reduce their symptoms. Several times per week over several weeks, the user visits the website for a few minutes to track health-related behaviors and management strategies (including treatments, drugs, etc.), and their symptom levels over the past 24 hours. Over time their responses build a personal database for that user.
The program then analyzes the user’s personal data to identify what behavior patterns and strategies are tied to lower symptom levels for that individual. This enables the user to experiment with different strategies (for example, changing bed times, trying different foods or self-care practices, types of exercise, drugs, dose levels, etc.) and get objective feedback about what works best to reduce their symptoms.
“Fibromyalgia is a ‘one size fits one’ condition – no one approach works the same for everyone. We want to help people discover what works best for them as a unique individual,” Collinge states. “It’s really a journey of personal discovery to learn how you can reduce symptoms and improve well-being in your own situation.” One person’s optimal strategies may also change over time, he says, making it even more valuable to get objective feedback about what’s working and what isn’t.
Results were published in the North American Journal of Medical Science, September 2013. Regular users of the program had significant reductions in symptom levels over time. Citation: Collinge W, Yarnold P, Soltysik R. Fibromyalgia symptom reduction by online behavioral self-monitoring, longitudinal single subject analysis and automated delivery of individualized guidance. North American Journal of Medical Science, September 2013;5(9):546-53.
To read the study online click here. To download the PDF click here.
The program used in this project is now available for public use at:
To read a related article on a study of mindfulness meditation in CFS click here.
William Collinge, Ph.D., Collinge and Associates, Inc.
Paul Yarnold, Ph.D., Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine
Rob Soltysik, M.S., Optimal Data Analysis, LLC, Severn, MD
Fred Friedberg, Ph.D., State Univ. of New York Stonybrook, Dept of Psychiatry
Don Goldenberg, M.D., Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Tufts Medical School
InterVision Media, Inc., Eugene, OR