Abstract: Chronic fatigue syndrome: the need for subtypes

Neuropsychol Rev. 2005 Mar;15(1):29-58.

Jason LA, Corradi K, Torres-Harding S, Taylor RR, King C.

DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA. ljason@depaul.edu

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an important condition confronting patients, clinicians, and researchers. This article provides information concerning the need for appropriate diagnosis of CFS subtypes. We first review findings suggesting that CFS is best conceptualized as a separate diagnostic entity rather than as part of a unitary model of functional somatic distress. Next, research involving the case definitions of CFS is reviewed.

Findings suggest that whether a broad or more conservative case definition is employed, and whether clinic or community samples are recruited, these decisions will have a major influence in the types of patients selected. Review of further findings suggests that subtyping individuals with CFS on sociodemographic, functional disability, viral, immune, neuroendocrine, neurology, autonomic, and genetic biomarkers can provide clarification for researchers and clinicians who encounter CFS’ characteristically confusing heterogeneous symptom profiles.

Treatment studies that incorporate subtypes might be particularly helpful in better understanding the pathophysiology of CFS. This review suggests that there is a need for greater diagnostic clarity, and this might be accomplished by subgroups that integrate multiple variables including those in cognitive, emotional, and biological domains.

PMID: 15929497 [PubMed – in process]

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