Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, more properly called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Myalgic Encephalopathy, is a serious illness. It is not a joke.
Dr. Leonard A. Jason, PhD, says, "Patients with CFS are more functionally impaired than those suffering from type II diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, multiple sclerosis, and end-stage renal disease." Live Chat Q&A with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research and Policy Leader Dr. Leonard A. Jason, Ph.D. (ProHealth.com, August 14, 2007)
At the November 3, 2006 press conference of the CDC and the CFIDS Association of America, Dr. Anthony Komaroff, MD, spoke about the neurological, immune, and energy metabolism abnormalities of chronic fatigue syndrome patients. "There are now over 4,000 published studies that show underlying biological abnormalities in patients with this illness," he said. "It's not an illness that people can simply imagine that they have and it's not a psychological illness."
ME/CFS is not a vague or poorly defined complaint. It is well defined by the Canadian Clinical Case Definition.
The Canadian case definition requires "post-exertional malaise and/or fatigue" for diagnosis.
There is an inappropriate loss of physical and mental stamina, rapid muscular and cognitive fatiguability, post-exertional malaise and/or fatigue and/or pain and a tendency for other associated symptoms within the patient's cluster of symptoms to worsen. There is a pathologically slow recovery period--usually 24 hours or longer.
The earlier Ramsay Definition describes the phenomenon as "muscle fatiguability."
Even after a minor degree of physical effort, three or more days may elapse before full muscle power is restored. This feature is unique and is the "sheet anchor" of diagnosis. In moderate cases there may be normal muscle power in remission.
Maryann Spurgin (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Society of America) adds, in Founding Principles and M.E. Society Definitional Framework--Discussion:
What all patients must have, at least according to both of these definitional frameworks, is an abnormal muscle metabolism -- a delayed or impaired recovery of muscle function after exercise, which patients experience as paralytic muscle weakness and pain, not "fatigue."
See the Open Medicine Foundation End ME/CFS Project page.
in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Orthostatic Intolerance: The Research
With Cort Johnson, Phoenix Rising Founder & ME/CFS/FM Sleuth
ProHealth.com, March 21, 2008
Organizations and Information Sites