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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome History

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME): The Canadian CFS Definition

An expert consensus panel convened in Canada in 2001 and developed a case definition of ME/CFS designed for clinical diagnoses, rather than for research purposes as was the 1994 definition of chronic fatigue syndrome. The panel outlined criteria for the symptom categories of fatigue; post-exertional malaise or fatigue; sleep dysfunction; pain; and body system manifestations including neurological/cognitive (e.g., difficulties with memory or concentration), autonomic (e.g., vertigo), neuroendocrine (e.g., heat or cold intolerance), and immune (e.g., sore throat).

The International CFS Definition Revisited

In 2003, the international study group revisited the 1994 case definition of chronic fatigue syndrome to identify and address ambiguities, with the goal of facilitating future research. The original definition offered examples of conditions that would preclude a chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis. The study group elaborated on these exclusionary criteria, and recommended the use of several specific standardized instruments in assessing fatigue and accompanying symptoms.

Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

Patients and patient advocates often prefer to call CFS "chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome" (CFIDS) to convey the complexity of the illness and its profound impact on people's lives. The 2003 study group addressed the name "chronic fatigue syndrome," expressing sympathy with those concerned that the name might trivialize the illness. "However," their report stated, "we believe that changing the name without adequate scientific justification will lead to confusion and will substantially undermine the progress that has been made in focusing public, clinical, and research attention on this illness."
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Information

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