A study of a new experimental symptom reduction program for fibromyalgia sponsored by the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (grant #R44AR052640-02) has been completed. “The Fibromyalgia Wellness Project” is a web-based intervention program that employs a novel approach using online self-monitoring and individualized feedback to help users discover how they can reduce their symptoms. The user visits the website for a few minutes, several times each week, for several weeks. With each visit they mark certain health-related behaviors, health management strategies they would like to track (including treatments, drugs, etc.), and 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 or strategies are tied to lower symptom levels for that individual. This enables the user to compare 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 of the study were published in the North American Journal of Medical Science, September 2013, and reported that 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.
We are now in the final stages of updating the website and mobile app for use by the public beginning in September 2015. Check this page for updates.
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