The Ambiguous Term “ME/CFS”: Why ME And CFS Cannot Be Combined

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By Jerrold Spinhirne.

 

Increasingly, researchers, doctors, advocates, and patients are using the mixed term “ME/CFS” as if it had some clear, specific meaning and referred to some identifiable disease. In actuality, however, the mixed term “ME/CFS” is ambiguous, logically incoherent, and a major impediment for making progress in research of the neurological disease myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME, ICD G93.3.
Additionally, patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS, and not meeting the more specific diagnostic criteria for ME, are also adversely affected by the use of the mixed “ME/CFS” term in research. Non-ME CFS while combined with ME under a single term cannot rationally be researched to identify other coherent patient groups, which could then be renamed and removed from the more encompassing CFS group. This rational strategy for resolving the current impasse in research was called for in the 2011 ME International Consensus Criteria paper, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, and the 2012 International Consensus Primer, based on the ME-ICC.
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