Article Index

A new criteria for diagnosing the illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) was published under the title, "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria", in the Journal of Internal Medicine, v. 270, n. 4, 295-400, Oct. 2011. "Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)" means muscle pain and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The rest of this article reviews the basic features of the 2011 diagnostic criteria and compares it with the 2003 ME/CFS Canadian Case Definition.

The new Criteria uses only the name ME, and not CFS, because according to the authors:

"In view of more recent research and clinical experience that strongly point to
widespread inflammation and multisystemic neuropathology, it is more
appropriate and correct to use the term 'myalgic encephalomyelitis' (ME)
because it indicates an underlying pathophysiology."

ME has, historically, been the name used for the multi-systemic illness in Britain, the European countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The 2011 ME International Consensus Criteria is co-authored by many of the most respected and committed international ME/CFS researchers and clinicians, including B.M. Carruthers, K.L. DeMeirleir, N.G. Klimas, R. Vallings, L. Bateman, D.S. Bell, J. Miskovits, and A.R. Light.

According to the article, the 2011 Consensus Panel consisted of clinicians and researchers from a wide range of specialties and from thirteen countries. "Collectively, members have approximately 400 years of both clinical and teaching experience, authored hundreds of peer-reviewer publications, diagnosed or treated approximately 50,000 patients with ME..." A number of the authors also contributed to the 2003 Canadian Consensus Criteria, a fact that accounts for much of the continuity between the two Criteria.

Another important aspect of the 2011 Criteria paper is the citation of 119 articles by the authors. These citations constitute a major review of much of the significant illness research over the past 20 years. This expansion of knowledge was significant enough, according to the authors, to improve the ability to identify and diagnose the illness, thereby providing the basis for the development of the 2011 Criteria.