William Collinge, PhD, MPH is a consultant, author, speaker and researcher in the field of integrative health care. He is conducting a study to see if Fibromyalgia sufferers can easily discover simple modifications in their patterns of daily living to markedly reduced their symptoms. The online study was slated to begin June 1, but due to several setbacks it has not launched and there is still an opportunity to be notified if you are interested in participating. To be added to a notification list, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read the news release below for more information.
A new experimental symptom reduction program for fibromyalgia sponsored by the National Institutes of Health will become available June 1st for a limited number of participants. “The Fibromyalgia Wellness Project” is a web-based intervention program that is part of a research study being directed by William Collinge, PhD, of Collinge and Associates, an independent research organization funded by NIH.
The project 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.
In the Phase I study, which was completed in 2007 with 40 FM sufferers, using the program was tied to significant improvements in physical functioning, productivity, mood, and sense of control over health. The impact on productivity–in domestic, work, or school related activities–was particularly appreciated by the participants, Collinge says.
Beginning June 1 the Phase II project will enable 200 people with FM to try out the online program for three months. A larger study is planned for the fall.