Journal of IiME Volume 2 Issue 2 www.investinme.org Family Illnesses Among People with ME/CFS: Blood Versus Non-Blood Relatives (continued) ME/CFS support group meetings. These efforts were continued throughout the study period until the target enrollment numbers were achieved. One hundred and fourteen individuals were recruited. Of the 114 individuals, 46% were referred by physicians, 34% were recruited by media (newspapers, TV, radio, etc.), and 20% stemmed from other sources (e.g., heard about the study from a friend, family member, person in the study, etc.). Twenty-four additional individuals who were screened were excluded due to a variety of reasons (i.e., lifelong fatigue, less than 4 Fukuda symptoms, BMI > 45, melancholic depression or bipolar depression, alcohol or substance abuse disorder, autoimmune thyroiditis, cancer, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis). Initial Screening. All participants were required to be at least 18 years of age, not pregnant, able to read and speak English, and considered to be physically capable of attending the scheduled sessions. Bedridden and wheelchair bound patients were excluded due to the practical difficulties of making appointments. Referrals to local physicians who treat ME/CFS and to support groups were offered to these individuals. After a consent form was filled out, prospective participants were initially screened by the third author, using a structured questionnaire. Because ME/CFS is a diagnosis of exclusion, prospective participants were screened for identifiable psychiatric and medical conditions that may explain ME/CFS-like symptoms. These measures were completed at DePaul University and took approximately two hours. After the initial interview was completed, the patients’ information was reviewed to ensure that they met all eligibility requirements. If found to be eligible for the study, all participants attended a medical appointment with the study physician in order to confirm the diagnosis of ME/CFS. After confirmation that the individual fully met the criteria for ME/CFS according to the Fukuda Invest in ME (Charity Nr. 1114035) et al. (1994) case definition, individuals completed a battery of baseline measures (described below). They were also assigned randomly to one of four treatment conditions, and completed measures at three follow-up testing periods. However, only the data obtained at baseline was considered in the current investigation. Measures The ME/CFS Questionnaire. This screening scale was initially validated by Jason et al. (2007). Hawk, Jason, and TorresHarding (2007) recently revised this ME/CFS Questionnaire, and administered the questionnaire to three groups (those with ME/CFS, Major Depressive Disorder, and healthy controls). The revised instrument, which was used in the present study, evidences good test-retest reliability and has good sensitivity and specificity (Hawk et al., 2007). This scale was used to collect demographic, health status, medication usage, and symptom data, and it used thedefinitional symptoms of ME/CFS (Fukuda et al., 1994). For each Fukuda et al. (1994) case definition symptom, rate the intensity of each symptom they endorsed on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 = no problem and 100 = the worst problem possible. The mode of illness onset was derived from an item on this measure. Illness onset duration of one month defined the sudden illness onset group while onset duration of longer than one month signified gradual illness onset. Medical Examination: The physician screening evaluation included a general and neurological physical examination. Laboratory tests in the battery were the minimum necessary to rule out other illnesses (Fukuda et al., 1994). Laboratory tests included a chemistry screen (which assesses liver, renal, and thyroid functioning), complete blood count with differential and platelet count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, arthritic profile (which includes (continued on page 7) Page 6/74

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