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December 8, 1997

Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Hunter-Hopkins Center, Charlotte, NC Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, Pa Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, Hershey

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(22):2663. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440430145020

We take issue with the negative tone and psychiatric implications of the recent commentary by Finestone1 titled "A Doctor's Dilemma: Is a Diagnosis Disabling or Enabling?"

It would have been more appropriate to emphasize the impaired cognitive function that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) demonstrate rather than label them psychiatric. One of us (H.L.H.) treats a school teacher who is anxious to return to work but cannot because of marked memory impairment. Both of us have treated highly motivated college students with previous excellent academic records who are now having difficulties with their studies because of CFS.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is not a nebulous, "waste-basket" term but a genuine, recognizable illness that is devastating the lives of thousands of young people around the world. At the First World Congress on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Brussels, Belgium, in 1996, much evidence was presented establishing CFS as a definite entity.

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