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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Children and Adolescents

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By James M Oleske, MD, MPH, et al • • September 20, 2006

Journal: Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Volume: 13, Issue: 2/3, Cover Date: 2006 Authors: James M. Oleske MD, MPH, Kenneth J. Friedman PhD, Kenneth R. Kaufman MD, MRCPsych, Donna Palumbo LCSW, Jonathan Sterling MA, Terri Lynn Evans RN DOI: 10.1300/J092v13n02_07 [in prepress, online] Objective: An overview of the unique aspects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in children and adolescents (CACFS) is herein provided for healthcare professionals who may be called upon to diagnose and/or treat this illness. Young age of onset, puberty, and interactions with peers and the educational system provide greater diagnostic and treatment challenges than found with adult onset CFS. Method: A review of diagnostic procedures and treatment protocols found in the contemporary literature is coupled with the professional experiences of the authors in treating CACFS to delineate the roles and responsibilities of family, healthcare providers and educators in diagnosing, treating and supporting the CACFS patient. Results: Areas discussed include: pathogenesis, patient evaluation, clinical evaluation, laboratory evaluation, treatment options, psychological issues, role of schools, and the roles of primary and tertiary care providers. Conclusion: CACFS can be diagnosed and treated with varying levels of success if all the professionals involved in the treatment program have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Primary care physicians, pediatricians, other subspecialists, family members, social workers and educators, may all be called upon to participate in the treatment program of CACFS. While it is best to have one, compassionate physician in charge of care, the CACFS may benefit from the inclusion of specialized treatment options available from or through a tertiary care provider. To the extent possible, socialization, education and psychological support of the CACFS should be provided. Keywords: Pediatrics, review, patient evaluation, psychology, primary care, tertiary care

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