Definitions of myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome

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Over the course of three decades, many definitions or case criteria have been developed to diagnose either myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID) which is an ME/CFS criteria. Some of these definitions or criteria are meant only to be diagnostic, i.e., used in a clinical setting to aid in diagnosis and some are meant to be used both in a clinical and research setting.

Each of these criteria and case definitions have been considered lacking in complete reliability and accuracy. Another change in the definition is assumed when medical research uncovers more of the pathophysiology of this illness.[1]

ME[edit | edit source]

The International Consensus Criteria is currently used in some research and by few clinicians in some countries. Ramsay definition, Nightingale definition and London criteria are currently not in use.

CFS[edit | edit source]

The Holmes criteria is currently not in use. The Oxford criteria is used in the UK by clinicians and researchers. Fukuda criteria is used in research by several countries including the US and sometimes in the UK. Reeves criteria is currently being used in the NIH Post-Infectious ME/CFS Study but overall it is not in use.

Combined (ME/CFS)[edit | edit source]

The Canadian Consensus Criteria is sometimes used by clinicians and for research in many countries but has not been officially adopted by most countries including the US. NICE guidelines are used by clinicians in the UK.

Note: ME/CFS (or CFS/ME in the UK and parts of Europe) is the acronym now used in the US and some other countries.

'SEID'[edit | edit source]

  • 2015 Institute of Medicine (IOM) diagnostic criteria[12]
  • The name "Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease" (SEID) was proposed in conjunction with this criteria, but was not adopted.[13]

The IOM criteria is an ME/CFS criteria proposed for use in the US in clinical settings. The NIH Post-Infectious ME/CFS Study is using this criteria along with three other criteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines the IOM diagnostic criteria on their ME/CFS page IOM 2015 Diagnostic Criteria.

Note on Definition flaws[edit | edit source]

Definitions with a asterisk (*) are considered to be by most ME/CFS patients, many ME/CFS patients groups, and several ME/CFS researchers as being seriously flawed in that these criteria capture individuals suffering from chronic fatigue and not chronic fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis or Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease.

Comparison[edit | edit source]

  • 2003, Jason, Leonard A.; Helgerson, Jena; Torres-Harding, Susan R.; Carrico, Adam W.; Taylor, Renee R. (March 2003), "Variability in diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome may result in substantial differences in patterns of symptoms and disability", Evaluation & the Health Professions, 26 (1): 3–22, ISSN 0163-2787, PMID 12629919 


  • 2012, Jason, Leonard A.; Brown, Abigail; Clyne, Erin; Bartgis, Lindsey; Evans, Meredyth; Brown, Molly (September 2012), "Contrasting case definitions for chronic fatigue syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis", Evaluation & the Health Professions, 35 (3): 280–304, doi:10.1177/0163278711424281, ISSN 1552-3918, PMID 22158691 


Learn more[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Williams, Yolonda J.; Jantke, Rachel L.; Jason, Leonard A. (2014), "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Case Definitions and Diagnostic Assessment", New York State Psychologist, 26 (4): 41–45, PMID 27594717 
  2. The Clinical Features of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
  3. The Nightingale Definition of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.)
  4. Carruthers, Bruce M.; van de Sande, Marjorie I.; De Meirleir, Kenny L.; Klimas, Nancy G.; Broderick, Gordon; Mitchell, Terry; Staines, Donald; Powles, A. C. Peter; Speight, Nigel; Vallings, Rosamund; Bateman, Lucinda; Baumgarten-Austrheim, Barbara; Bell, David; Carlo-Stella, Nicoletta; Chia, John; Darragh, Austin; Jo, Daehyun; Lewis, Donald; Light, Alan; Marshall-Gradisnik, Sonya; Mena, Ismael; Mikovits, Judy; Miwa, Kunihisa; Murovska, Modra; Pall, Martin; Stevens, Staci (Aug 22, 2011). "Myalgic encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria". Journal of Internal Medicine. 270 (4): 327–338. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02428.x. ISSN 0954-6820. PMC 3427890Freely accessible. PMID 21777306. 
  5. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Criteria and clinical guidelines 2014.
  6. Chronic fatigue syndrome: a working case definition.
  7. A report--chronic fatigue syndrome: guidelines for research.
  8. The chronic fatigue syndrome: a comprehensive approach to its definition and study. International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study Group.
  9. Chronic fatigue syndrome--a clinically empirical approach to its definition and study.
  10. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols
  11. Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy): diagnosis and management
  12. Proposed Diagnostic Criteria for ME/CFS
  13. "IOM 2015 Diagnostic Criteria | Diagnosis | Healthcare Providers | Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) | CDC". www.cdc.gov. Nov 8, 2018. Retrieved Apr 12, 2019. 

Myalgic encephalomyelitis or M.E. has different diagnostic criteria to chronic fatigue syndrome; neurological symptoms are required but fatigue is an optional symptom.<ref name="ICP2011primer">{{Citation

Systematic Exertion Intolerance Disease. A new term with new diagnostic criteria designed to replace chronic fatigue syndrome.<ref name="IOM2015">{{citation

Myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome


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From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history