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Physical and Functional Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in Childhood – Source: Pediatrics, May 17, 2010

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By Gwen Kennedy, et al. • • June 2, 2010

Objective: The aim of this study was to compare self-reported and parent-reported quality of life for a group of pediatric patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and age- and gender-matched healthy control children, to determine the extent of functional and physical impairment.

Methods: The Child Health Questionnaire was completed by 25 children with CFS/ME, who were recruited throughout the United Kingdom, and by 23 age-, gender-, and Tanner scale-matched control children. In addition, patients were asked questions about the background to their illness (ie, precipitating factors), the status of their illness, and school attendance.


• The median illness duration for patients was 3 years.

• 68% of the children said that their illness developed quickly,

• And the illness had an infectious onset for 88%.

• Only 1 child (4%) attended school full-time, whereas 12 (48%) attended school part-time and 8 (32%) received home tuition only.

• Children with CFS/ME scored significantly lower for 10 of 14 Child Health Questionnaire concepts; the lowest scores were observed for global health (scores of 21.4 and 84.1 for patients and control subjects, respectively; P < .0001) and role/social limitations attributable to physical health problems (scores of 24.9 and 100, respectively; P < .0001).

Quality of life for the children with CFS/ME compared unfavorably with previously published results for pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus or asthma.

The quality of life of children with CFS/ME was profoundly reduced, compared with that of their healthy counterparts.

Source: Pediatrics, May 17, 2010;125(6)pp 1324-1330. PMID: 20478937, by Kennedy G, Underwood C, Belch JJ. Vascular and Inflammatory Diseases Research Unit, Centre for Cardiovascular and Lung Biology, Division of Medical Sciences, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK.

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