chronic fatigue syndrome

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Related to Myalgic Encephalopathy: chronic fatigue syndrome, Myalgic encephalomyelitis

chronic fatigue syndrome

(CFS), collection of persistent, debilitating symptoms, the most notable of which is severe, lasting fatigue. In other countries it is known variously as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome, and postviral fatigue syndrome. It may have been first recognized as a syndrome in the 1860s by George Beard, who used the term neurasthenianeurasthenia
, condition characterized by general lassitude, irritability, lack of concentration, worry, and hypochondria. The term was introduced into psychiatry in 1869 by George M. Beard, an American neurologist; he believed it to be a neurosis with a fatigue component.
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 to described what he believed to be a neurosis with a fatigue component. Definitions and theories of its cause have changed over the years; many cases have been misdiagnosed as imaginary because doctors could find no cause. In the mid-1980s it came to the public's attention, as affluent women in their thirties began to seek treatment. (For unknown reasons, more women than men seek treatment for the disease.)

Symptoms and Identification

As currently defined, chronic fatigue syndrome is the presence of severe, disabling fatigue lasting for six or more consecutive months. The fatigue is persistent or relapsing, and is new (i.e., not lifelong), not relieved by rest, not the result of ongoing exertion, and interferes with normal work, social, educational, or personal activities. Diagnosis also requires at least four of the following symptoms, each persistent or recurring and not present before the fatigue: impairment of short-term memory or concentration, sore throat, tender lymph nodes in the neck or axillary region, muscle pain, joint pain, headaches peculiar to the syndrome, unrefreshing sleep, and malaise of more than one day's duration following exertion. Chronic fatigue that does not meet all these criteria is termed "idiopathic fatigue."

The course of the disease varies. Many people first experience symptoms after a cold or bout of the flu. Most people reach a plateau early on; the symptoms come and go with varying severity afterward. Some experience complete remission; others have their symptoms indefinitely.

There are no specific diagnostic tests. Diagnosis must first rule out known causes of fatigue such as hypothyroidism, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and major depression with psychotic or melancholic features (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder). Chronic fatigue syndrome and nonpsychotic, nonmelancholic depression, however, are not mutually exclusive. Substance abuse and side effects of prescribed medications must also be eliminated as possible causes.

Cause and Treatment

There is no known single cause of CFS. Some authorities believe it is a condition shared by many different underlying diseases rather than an entity unto itself; others believe it is caused by a defect of the immune system. Hormonal deficits, low blood pressure, and viral infections have been studied as possible causes or contributors. The postulated causal link with Epstein-Barr virusEpstein-Barr virus
(EBV), herpesvirus that is the major cause of infectious mononucleosis and is associated with a number of cancers, particularly lymphomas in immunosuppressed persons, including persons with AIDS.
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 hypothesized in the mid-1980s has been discounted. In 2009 researchers announced that they had found xenotropic murine-leukemia-virus-related virus (XMRV) in many patients with CFS, but the study did not show that XMRV was linked to CFS. Other studies failed to replicate its findings, and the paper was later retracted.

There is no definitive treatment for CFS, although success has been reported anecdotally with antidepressants, antianxiety medications, antivirals, and immune boosters. Symptomatic treatment for the muscle and joint pains is helpful in some cases, as are psychological and physical therapies. Counseling and peer support groups may help some patients cope with the frustrating nature of the disease. A British study reported in 2012 that cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy were the most successful and cost-effective treatments, but other have asserted that that assessment significantly overstating the results of the study.

References in periodicals archive ?
Once dismissed as "yuppie flu" - burnout suffered by highflying executives in the 80s - myalgic encephalopathy is now recognised by the World Health Organisation as a neurological disorder, although nobody knows exactly what triggers it.
MYALGIC encephalopathy can also be known as chronic fatigue syndrome, post-viral fatigue syndrome, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome.
The names used in the study were: CFS; Florence Nightingale Disease (FN), named for the public health nurse who served during the Crimean War and was believed to have suffered from chronic fatigue; and Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME), the medically based term used to describe the condition.
ME - Myalgic Encephalopathy, or chronic fatigue syndrome - is an often-misunderstood condition thought to affect about 250,000 people in the UK.
The Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em star, 69, has spent seven years fighting myalgic encephalopathy (ME) which he picked up while appearing in Woman in White.
It is extremely difficult for us as a family seeing Mum so frustrated and depressed by the illness, most commonly called ME - myalgic encephalopathy, but also referred to as CFS, chronic fatigue syndrome, PVFS, post-viral fatigue syndrome and CFIDS, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome.
Chris, who suffers from myalgic encephalopathy, ME, was chosen out of 50 artists to create the artwork in Helmsdale.
Myalgic encephalopathy is a chronic and debilitating illness that effects up to an estimated 10,500 people in the North-East.
The report, published for ME Awareness Week, highlights the isolation, lack of independence and loss of friendships caused by ME, myalgic encephalopathy or chronic fatigue syndrome.
The report, published for ME Awareness Week, highlights the isolation, lack of independence and loss of friendships caused by myalgic encephalopathy (ME) - or chronic fatigue syndrome.
The 34-year-old was suffering from the neurological condition Myalgic Encephalopathy, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or ME.