Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Reason to Hope

This past summer, a group of highly respected specialists and researchers from around the globe published a paper in the Journal of Internal Medicine entitled Myalgic encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria. In the paper, the authors note that the original medical term for this illness is myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), and suggest it is time to cease use of the inappropriate term 'chronic fatigue syndrome.'
The label 'chronic fatigue syndrome' (CFS) has persisted for many years because of the lack of knowledge of the aetiological agents and the disease process. In view of more recent research and clinical experience that strongly point to widespread inflammation and multisystemic neuropathology, it is more appropriate and correct to use the term 'myalgic encephalomyelitis' (ME) because it indicates an underlying pathophysiology. It is also consistent with the neurological classification of ME in the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases (ICD G93.3).

The paper goes on to describe ME as "an acquired neurological disease with complex global dysfunctions, pathological dysregulation of the nervous, immune and endocrine systems, with impaired cellular energy metabolism and ion transport."

The authors state that the primary goal of their report is to establish a more selective set of clinical criteria that will enable patients with ME to be diagnosed and enrolled in research studies using a case definition that is acceptable to physicians and researchers around the world.

You can find a summary of the ME International Consensus Criteria here.

What does this mean? For many of us in the patient community, it means a lot. It means hope.