New name/diagnostic for ME/CFS: SEID

New criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) were outlined earlier this year, when The Institute of Medicine (IOM) - an independent US health think tank - presented a comprehensive report on the condition, also recommending that it be renamed: Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID)

Under the proposed criteria, at least 4 of the following 5 core symptoms (edited for brevity) must apply in order for one to receive a positive diagnosis:

◦ Fatigue + reduction in activity *
Post exertional malaise (PEM)**
Unrefreshing sleep

Cognitive impairment OR
Orthostatic intolerance (OI) ***

* Substantial and persisting for over 6 months, not the result of ongoing excessive exertion, and not substantially alleviated by rest
** A worsening of some symptoms e.g. typically including pain/fatigue, in the 12-48+ hours following exertion
*** Irregularities in blood pressure/heart rate regulation, associated with being upright and stationary, and in the context of low blood volume

This is an interesting, long overdue development in a sensitive/somewhat controversial area (diagnosis/nomenclature) relating to a sensitive/somewhat controversial topic (an ‘invisible illness' about which there has historically been much ‘confusion' in the media/medical profession)

The focus on the objectively demonstrated physiological dysfunction (PEM) that is essentially unique to this condition is welcome, insofar as it helps to underline the fact that it is a very real, and disruptive, disease, and to differentiate it from chronic fatigue more broadly, as well as other illnesses (e.g. depressive/sleep disorders), which may bear similarities to ME/CFS but ought not to be confused with it

Contrarily, it is perhaps unhelpful insofar as it does not explicitly incorporate the core pathology of the disease which is, fairly irrefutably, inflammation of the central nervous system

Link: ME Association Article