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New Consensus Criteria for ME/CFS to Debut

(July 31st, 2011     Research efforts involving chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may recieve a boost in coming years, as a new effort to define the illness will soon be published in the July edition of the Journal of Internal Medicine.    The new definition was created by a panel of the world's leading clinicians and scientists.   Collectively, the panel boasts 400 years of experience with CFS, treating over 50,000 patients. 

The effort to create a new definition was prompted by concern about the effects of general term "fatigue syndrome", as well as recent research demonstrating flaws of past definitions.   Widespread agreement exists that past definitions for CFS "do not select homogenous sets of patients".    To alleviate these concerns, the new definition will narrow the selection criteria for CFS, focusing on four distinct symptom classifications. 

   Four criteria are set by the new definition: 

 1.     Post-Exertional Exhaustion and prolonged recovery time after activity. This category requires at least a 50% reduction in activity levels and it is the only compulsory requirement.    

 2. Neurological Impairments.  Patient will have one symptom from three of four categories:   neurocognitive impairment, pain, sleep disturbance, and motor disturbances.

 3. Immune and Gastrointestinal Impairments.  The patient must have one of three of the five categories:  flu-like symptoms, prolonged recovery from viral illness, gastro-intestinal or nausea, food or chemical sensitivity, and genitourinary symptoms.  

  4.  Energy Production and Cardiovascular. Patient must have one of four categories of orthostatic intolerance, respiratory symptoms, poor regulation of body temperature, and intolerance of temperature extremes are the categories.    

  The authors contend that the new criteria -- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria -- are supported by research.  The definition's authors cite over 100 papers that support the biological areas of emphasis contained in the definition. In particular, a study of over 2500 patients with CFS was conducted to determine which symptoms are most unique to the illness.