Chronic Fatigue

New Name, Diagnostic Criteria For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The Institute of Medicine has recommended changing the diagnostic criteria for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and renaming the disorder systemic exertion intolerance diseases (SEID) to “appropriately capture the complexity and severity of the illness.”

“Although many health care providers are aware of ME/CFS, they may misunderstand the disease or lack knowledge about how to diagnose and treat it,” said the authors of the report.
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“Such gaps in understanding lead to delayed diagnoses and inappropriate management of patients’ symptoms.”

According to the report brief, diagnostic criteria for SEID should include the following 3 symptoms:

  • A significant decrease or impairment in maintaining engagement in educational, social occupational, and personal activities that lasts for more than 6 months and is accompanied by fatigue not greatly alleviated by rest
  • Post-external malaise
  • Unrefreshing sleep

And at least 1 of the following:

The report noted that while there is current progression in the study of ME/CFS using molecular and physiologic methods, further studies need to be conducted to determine the natural history of the disease, as well as to better understand onset, duration, severity, recovery, and functional losses.

The complete study is published in the Institute of Medicine’s February 2015 report brief.

-Michelle Canales


1. Institute of Medicine. Beyond myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome: redefining an illness.  Published February 2015. Accessed February 11, 2015.