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ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

One Illness Or More?
Are There Sub-Types Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Sub-types of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome : Many researchers and specialists now think that there are sub-types of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

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Many people believe that the specific name, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is actually an 'umbrella' term for a number of unnamed illnesses. Instead of being 'just one' condition, many specialists and researchers think it could include a number of illnesses, which all share very similar symptoms and signs:

"Subgrouping is the key to understanding how CFS begins, how it is maintained… and in the best case, how it can be prevented, treated and cured."

-- Jason LA, et al, 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Need for Subtypes', [ref 22]--

"Adding to the complexity, the disease process may not be the same in all people with CFS. Just as a painful, swollen joint can be caused by infection, injury or arthritis, the symptoms of CFS may be the end result of different processes.

Researchers are recognizing the importance of subtyping patients -- perhaps by similar symptoms or illness history, or by the predominant organ systems involved -- to make both treatment and research more effective."

-- Dorothy Wall, From Skepticism to Science --

"CFS did not come into existence until 1988. As a basis for sound scientific research, it has been a disaster. CFS is not a single diagnostic entity and "fatigue " is not a disorder, it is a symptom. The term CFS is now applied to a heterogeneous [mixed] group as a non-specific label which embraces many different medical and psychiatric conditions in which tiredness and fatigue are prominent."

-- E.P. Marshall, M. Williams, M. Hooper, 'What Is ME? What Is CFS?', [ref 14]--

 

When asked about his thoughts on Dr Kerr's research findings, Dr Neil Abbot, of Merge, said:

"CFS/ME can have very different effects on patients. We're not looking at just one condition with a definitive patient group. So it might be hard to get a gene signature which works for everyone with CFS/ME.

(…) This research probably won't be the answer for everyone, but it is still very interesting."

-- Dr Neil Abbot of MERGE, talking about Dr Kerr's findings, [ref 8] --

 

Some scientists think that instead of only renaming ' CFS ', it would be better to also identify all the subgroups within CFS and to give each subgroup a name instead:

"We need an umbrella term with subsets. Why? Because previously, the term " CFS " was used by scientists too loosely, and many diverse, sometimes unrelated diseases (everything from depression to viral cardiomyopathy) were published on with the name "CFS" in the title of the article. We do not want many diverse diseases to be researched under ME. We want ME researched separately, and other diseases such as idiopathic chronic fatigue, etc., to be researched separately. The solution is an umbrella term with subsets, and each subset will have separate research criteria."

-- Maryann Spurgin Ph.D., Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Name Change: The Case for Neuroendocrine Immune Syndrome, 2002 --

 

 

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