Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chronic fatigue syndrome: understanding a complex illness

Stephen T. Holgate, Anthony L. Komaroff, Dennis Mangan and Simon Wessely

Abstract | Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating illness that affects many
people. It has been marred by controversy, from initial scepticism in the medical
community about the existence of the condition itself to continuing disagreements
— mainly between some patient advocacy groups on one side, and researchers
and physicians on the other — about the name for the illness, its aetiology, its
pathophysiology and the effectiveness of the few currently available treatments.
The role of the CNS in the disease is central in
many of these discussions. Nature Reviews Neuroscience asked four scientists involved in CFS research about their
views on the condition, its causes and the future of research aimed at improving
our understanding of this chronic illness.


Simon Wessely: "we know that, as with other chronic disabling conditions, addressing the pattern of beliefs, emotions and behaviours that CFS sufferers experience doesn’t explain why they got ill in the first place but can play an important part in treatment, as confirmed in the large and elegant PACE trial5. Why is there such resistance from some quarters? Some sadly continue to answer my first question above in the affirmative. It remains the case that conditions that are perceived or classified as psychiatric in origin are associated with stigma and are still being labelled as being ‘all in the mind’, and those who suffer from them are not given the same respect as those with ‘physical’ illnesses. Unless and until this changes, the controversy will persist. Read more blah blah.pdf

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