Web-based therapies could be better at helping teenagers with chronic fatigue syndrome than other treatments, scientists have claimed.

Writing in The Lancet, Dutch researchers said web-based therapies were eight times more likely to help teenagers make a recovery from the condition when compared against standard models of care.

The report said that 63 per cent of those given online psychotherapy treatment went on to recover.

Scientists from the University Medical Centre, Utrecht, used a programme called Fitnet, which replicates face-to-face cognitive behavioural therapies online. Skilled therapists were also on hand to provide support via email.

In total, 135 teenagers with chronic fatigue syndrome took part in the study, with half given standard therapies and half using Fitnet. After six months, three-quarters of the teens using Fitnet were back in school, compared to just 16 per cent of those receiving traditional treatment.

Professor Peter White, from Barts and the London School of Medicine, and Trudie Chandler, from King's College London, told the BBC that the Dutch researchers should be praised for their research. They said: "They have added to an increasing evidence base which shows that therapist-aided, internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective treatment for many similar disorders."

Posted by Robert Mair on 1/3/2012