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February 3, 1989

Chronic Fatigue

JAMA. 1989;261(5):697. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420050044020

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To the Editor.—  I am a patient suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and I am appalled that it has been given such a trivial name. Here is a disease that totally disables most of its victims; a disease that causes balance disorders, resulting in some of us requiring wheelchairs, cognitive disorders that leave us unable to perform formerly simple mental tasks, and immune disorders that lay us open to multiple infections and to autoimmune problems. And all the medical profession can come up with to define this syndrome to the general population is "fatigue!"Let me be clear, the disabling weakness and exhaustion a patient with chronic fatigue syndrome experiences is so profound that fatigue is a euphemism at best, and more probably an insult. I have lain in bed for days, in pain because the muscles in my arms and legs were shaking from the strain of holding them