Article Index


L.Jason (Chicago, USA) had looked at the natural history of the illness over 10 years. His study’s major finding was that rates of CFS appear to have been relatively stable over the past decade. 67% of those with CFS continued to have CFS over time. Some of those initially diagnosed with Idiopathic Chronic Fatigue (ICF) had progressed to CFS, suggesting that ICF is a group at higher risk of developing CFS. Of those in remission, 50% went from a diagnosis of CFS to ICF, indicating that while they no longer fitted the CFS criteria, they did still suffer from fatigue. Post-exertional malaise is the cardinal symptom. Of interest 29.4% of the CFS patients had had a blood transfusion.

CFS knowledge and illness management among US healthcare providers was reviewed by E.Unger (Atlanta,USA). When looking at results for health practitioners, 94% of doctors had heard of CFS, 71% believed it was a medical and psychological illness, 14% believed it was a psychiatric illness, 37% had made a diagnosis. Studies of public knowledge indicated that 57% had heard of CFS, 27% considered it a medical condition and 2% believed it was a psychological illness. Nearly 10% of the public knew of someone with CFS. The top 3 ways in which health care providers manage CFS were: referral to a medical specialist (35%), medication (29%), and referral to a psychologist/prescribing graded exercise therapy (26%). The public sought information by talking to family doctor (72%), searching the internet (54%) and talking to a medical specialist (25%). Only 7% would join a support group.

J.Allegre (Barcelona, Spain) presented results of a study to determine the sociodemographic, clinical and therapeutic characteristics of CFS patients in Spain. The condition was found to affect mainly middle-aged, educated women. Onset most often occurs following an identifiable trigger, such as infection, delivery or stress, and was sudden in 20%. At the time of diagnosis 62.5% were not working. Treatments were: symptomatic medication (analgesics, antidepressants, anxiolytics) in 78.3%, alternative treatments in 3% and physical exercise and/or CBT in 5%.