Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

Research articles

Differential Diagnosis between ME/CFS and Other Conditions

ME/CFS often appears similar to several different and distinct illnesses. The following section will assist patients and health care providers distinguish other illnesses from ME/CFS. It is critical not to misdiagnose ME/CFS as another illness, nor diagnose another illness as ME/CFS.

See pages 14-16 of the ME/CFS: A Primer for Clinical Practitioners for an overview of what clinicians should be considering as differential diagnoses. The most common conditions confused with ME/CFS are listed below, with descriptions in "patient" language. 


ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia

ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia


ME/CFS and Multiple Sclerosis

ME/CFS and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

National Multiple Sclerosis Society


ME/CFS and Chronic Lyme Disease

American Lyme Disease Foundation —ALDF is active in media outreach, education (medical and public) and research programs.  

A Personal Journey into Lyme Disease

Book review of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Disease Epidemic by Pamela Weintraub

Chronic Lyme Disease Diagnosis stirs Controversy

Dr. Sam Donta: The Interface of Chronic Lyme Disease, CFS and FM

Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses on the rise!

Lyme Disease Association (LDA)— Organization dedicated to Lyme Disease education, prevention, and the raising of research funds.Various educational brochures and primers available at their website.

Lyme Disease Network (LymeNET)—Comprehensive website offering online library, listing of national support groups, and a user forum.

ME/CFS and Chronic Lyme Disease

Sturbridge Lyme Awareness of Massachusetts (SLAM)

Symptoms Common to Lyme Disease and CFIDS 


ME/CFS and Chiari Malformation

CFS/FM and Chiari Malformation Surgery

ME/CFS and Chiari Malformation 


ME/CFS and Psychiatric Disorders

See pages 16-17 of the ME/CFS: A Primer for Clinical Practitioners

1994 Definition and Overlap with Psychiatric Conditions

CFS Distinguished from Depression in Boston-based Study

Dr. Komaroff Publishes Article Demonstrating that CFIDS Is A Physical and Not A Psychiatric Illness

ME/CFS and Psychiatric Disorders

On the Morbid Fascination with Psychiatric Morbidity by Dr. Alan Gurwitt, a pioneer ME/CFS psychiatrist, who clearly explains the distinctions between ME/CFS and psychiatric illnesses.


ME/CFS and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

CFIDS and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

American Academy of Environmental Medicine—A physician's organization—you can search for members who practice environmental medicine in your area.

Chemical Injury Information Network—Provides information and referral to members; publishes a monthly newsletter. Maintains a library on chemical injury.

Human Ecology Action League, Inc.—Information clearinghouse with chapters and support groups around the country.

Massachusetts Association for the Chemically Injured (MACI)—Information, referral and support for people with MCS. Also holds monthly meetings and publishes a newsletter.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Referrals and Resources—A wealth of information for patients and health care providers.

National Center for Environmental Health Strategies—Focuses on initiating change and empowering the public with hard data, such as medical, legal, and policy information. Provides information on gaining accommodations at work and school.


ME/CFS and Mitochondrial Disease

Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Post-exertional Malaise and ME/CFS 


ME/CFS and Sjögren's Syndrome

Oral complications in Sjögren's Syndrome and chronic Dry Mouth


Links to lists of Health Care Providers outside of Massachusetts

Since we focus primarily on Massachusetts we don't have any personal knowledge of doctors in other states.

These links list doctors (or links to lists of doctors) who are knowledgeable about both FM and ME/CFS that you might find helpful in finding a doctor near you. Please see:



http://ilads.org/ilads_media/physician-referral/ This is a contact form where you can request names of "Lyme-aware" physicians.  We highly recommend this organization for information about Lyme disease.

We wish you the best on your journey toward better health.

Clinical Guides for Fibromyalgia

Jain AK et al, "Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Canadian Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols—A Consensus Document," l Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain 11, No. 4 (2003): 3-107. Co-published simultaneously in The Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition for Practitioners, pp. 3-108, 2004. Editor: I.. J. Russell. ISBN: 0-7890-2574-4. © Haworth Press Inc. This is the 2003 Canadian FM Definition Consensus Document.

FM Guide for Pharmacists, by Janice Sumpton, RPh, BSc.Phm, c 2008. Written by a pharmacist, but basically an overview of diagnosis, management, and treatment of the illness which could be helpful to any health care professional, also based on the Canadian Consensus Document. This was written before the newer drugs for FM were approved. Most of the treatment emphasis is on non-pharmaceuticals. FM-CFS Canada home page

"Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners, An Overview of the Canadian Consensus Document," by Bruce Carruthers, M.D. and M. I. van de Sande, c 2005-2006 (30 pp.) This is an excellent overview for physicians with practical guidelines for diagnosis and treatment, based on the 2003 Canadian FM Definition Consensus Document.


Notice about names

The Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies, including the CDC, are currently using ME/CFS. 

Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association changed its name in July, 2018, to reflect this consensus.