Names of myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome

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The name myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) was coined by Dr. Melvin Ramsay following the 1955 Royal Free Hospital outbreak[1] and is a portmanteau of several of the key signs and symptoms of the disease: myalgic (muscle pain), encephalo (brain), myel (spinal cord), itis (inflammation).[2]

Several other names have been used or proposed throughout the history of the disease, including atypical polio, Icelandic disease, benign myalgic encephalomyelitis, epidemic neuromyasthenia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID). This has lead to much confusion as a variety of names have been used at different times to describe discrete outbreaks, a wider and potentially more heterogenous population of sporadic cases, and with a wide variety of case definitions.

A survey by The MEAction Network in 2016 found that the majority of patients prefer the name myalgic encephalomyelitis to other names including chronic fatigue syndrome.[3] Most government agencies and researchers around the world now use the term ME/CFS.[citation needed]

Criterion defining ME, CFS, and ME/CFS[edit | edit source]


Patients that meet the International Consensus Criteria (ICC) defining ME are usually more severely impaired than patients that meet the Canadian Consensus Criteria (CCC) defining ME/CFS, or the minimum symptoms defined in the criteria for patients with SEID which also defines ME/CFS. Researchers believe all patients meeting these criteria, including Fukuda criteria (with post-exertional malaise) defining CFS, are experiencing brain inflammation.[citation needed]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "An Outbreak of Encephalomyelitis in the Royal Free Hospital Group, London, in 1955". British Medical Journal. 2 (5050): 895–904. Oct 19, 1957. ISSN 0007-1447. PMID 13472002. 
  2. Hooper, Malcolm (Feb 2005). "Invest in ME Research - The Terminology of ME & CFS". www.investinme.org. Retrieved Aug 13, 2018. 
  3. "#MEAction RFI Poll Report (Part 1 of 3) | #MEAction". www.meaction.net. Aug 7, 2016. Retrieved Aug 13, 2018. 

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

Systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) - A term for ME/CFS that aims to avoid the stigma associated with the term "chronic fatigue syndrome", while emphasizing the defining characteristic of post-exertional malaise (PEM). SEID was defined as part of the diagnostic criteria put together by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report of 10 February 2015.

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

Canadian consensus criteria (CCC) - A set of diagnostic criteria used to diagnose ME/CFS, developed by a group of practicing ME/CFS clinicians in 2003. The CCC is often considered to be the most complex criteria, but possibly the most accurate, with the lowest number of patients meeting the criteria. Led to the development of the International Consensus Criteria (ICC) in 2011.

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