Names of myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome
The name myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) was coined by Dr. Melvin Ramsay following the 1955 Royal Free Hospital outbreak 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).
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 (69% said “ME” was an acceptable name) to other names including ME/CFS (28% said acceptable) and chronic fatigue syndrome (only 6% found acceptable).  Most government agencies and researchers around the world now use the term ME/CFS.
Criteria 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.
References[edit | edit source]
- "An Outbreak of Encephalomyelitis in the Royal Free Hospital Group, London, in 1955". British Medical Journal. 2 (5050): 895–904. October 19, 1957. ISSN 0007-1447. PMID 13472002.
- Hooper, Malcolm (February 2005). "Invest in ME Research - The Terminology of ME & CFS". Invest in ME Research. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "#MEAction RFI Poll Report (Part 1 of 3) | #MEAction". The MEAction Network. August 7, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "ME Action Survey; see p.27" (PDF).