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Evaluating the Centers for Disease Control’s empirical chronic fatigue syndrome case definition – Source: Journal of Disability Policy Studies, Sep 2009

  [ 35 votes ]   [ 1 Comment ]
By Leonard A. Jason, et al. • www.ProHealth.com • September 2, 2009


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently developed an empirical case definition that specifies criteria and instruments to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in order to bring more methodological rigor to the current CFS case definition.

The present study investigated this new definition with 27 participants with a diagnosis of CFS and 37 participants with a diagnosis of a Major Depressive Disorder.

Participants completed questionnaires measuring disability, fatigue, and symptoms.

Findings indicated that 38% of those with a diagnosis of a Major Depressive Disorder were misclassified as having CFS using the new CDC definition.

Given the CDC’s stature and respect in the scientific world, this new definition might be widely used by investigators and clinicians.

This might result in the erroneous inclusion of people with primary psychiatric conditions in CFS samples, with detrimental consequences for the interpretation of epidemiologic, etiologic, and treatment efficacy findings for people with CFS.

Source: Journal of Disability Policy Studies, Sep 2009; vol 20, pp 93-100. By Jason LA, Najar N, Porter N, Reh C. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA. [E-mail: Ljason@depaul.edu]

[Note: to read comments on these findings by CFIDS Association Scientific Director Suzanne Vernon, PhD, see "Defining CFS: The Debate Goes on." Dr. Vernon, formerly a researcher with the CDC, was one of 10 authors listed on the CDC article describing the empirical case definition in 2005.]





Join the Discussion Post a Comment 


There's a petition against this definition
Posted by: QuayMan
Sep 3, 2009
A petition was set up in April to protest about the CDC's emprical definition for CFS (the definition Prof. Jason found to be flawed in this study). The petition is at: Sign the petition at: http://CFSdefinitionpetition.notlong.com
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