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Dr. Donahue propagates the myth of graded exercise as beneficial for CFS




He's health columnist/physician who is syndicated and widely read in the US.

If you want to write to him or leave a comment, keep a couple of things in mind.

1 - he's not a spring chicken, probably doesn't practice anymore and might never have examined a CFS patient. He covers a lot of different topics in his columns so most of his information most likely comes from the literature. :rolleyes:

2 - he's covered CFS in the past, and doesn't respond well to angry letters. In fact, he published one years ago where a patient's mom demanded an apology for a column he wrote; and he was all WTF?

He's probably much more amenable to calm discussion, and perhaps insightful criticism of the graded exercise literature. He doesn't think CFS is psychological so that's definitely a good thing.

I'm going to go leave a comment...


Senior Member
I just left a comment, and WOW, they don't make it easy! Robin, how do you get paragraphs and spacing like that? My comment is one long jumble, not what I typed into their teeny-tiny comment box.


Senior Member
NYC (& RI)
Thanks guys, for your good comments. I posted too. I tried not to be mean! :Retro smile:

Dr. Donovan,
Thank you for addressing ME/CFIDS, as this common and extremely disabling neuro-endocrine-immune disease is much neglected.

I must agree with the two previous posters that Graded Exercise is probably the least effective and certainly the most dangerous 'therapy' recommended for ME/CFIDS. Fortunately, your statement that GET is 'universally recommended' is incorrect. For example, Twisk and Maes "conclude that it is unethical to treat patients with ME/CFS with ineffective, non-evidence based and potentially harmful 'rehabilitation therapies', such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy/ Graded Exercise Therapy."

Source: Neuro Endocrinology Letters, Sep 15, 2009;30(3):284-299. PMID: 19855350, by Twisk FN, Maes M. ME-de-patienten Foundation, Limmen, The Netherlands; Clinical Research Center for Mental Health (CRC-MH), Antwerp, Belgium.


Senior Member
Dr. Donohue gives (bad) advice on CFS in various US newspapers

(This was originally the initial post in another thread)

This was in:
Martinsburg Journal
South Coast Today
The Detroit News
Alexandria Town Talk
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Yuma Sun
and possibly elsewhere:

last paragraph:

An important part of the workup is searching for all the known causes of fatigue, a formidable task. Your last doctor sounds as though he's conducting such a search. No single treatment suits all chronic fatigue patients. However, a graded exercise program is universally advised. "Graded" indicates that people start out very modestly and gradually increase the exercise tempo. This syndrome leads to deconditioning, and that adds to a person's inability to cope with physical and mental performance.

The Detroit News
Alexandria Town Talk
also have:

The booklet on chronic fatigue syndrome clarifies some of the thinking on this syndrome and its treatments. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 304, Box 536475, Orlando, FL. Enclosed a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./ $6 Canadian with the recipient's printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.

A slightly shorter version was in:
Richmond Times Dispatch
and possibly elsewhere:

No single treatment suits all chronic fatigue patients. However, a graded exercise program is universally advised.