Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at Age 16 Years

Editor's comment: The criteria for this study were self-reported and/or parental-reported fatigue lasting more than three months. Neither the Fukuda, nor the CCC, nor the ICC were used to establish CFS, which may account for the resulting high figures.

By Simon M. Collin et al.

BACKGROUND: In the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort, chronic disabling fatigue lasting more than or equal to 6 months affected 1.3% of 13-year-olds, was equally common in boys and girls, and became more prevalent with increasing family adversity.
METHODS: ALSPAC data were used to estimate the prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) at age 16 years, defined by parental report of unexplained disabling fatigue lasting more than or equal to 6 months. We investigated gender and a composite 14-item family adversity index as risk factors. School absence data were obtained from the National Pupil Database. Multiple imputation was used to address bias caused by missing data.
RESULTS: The prevalence of CFS was 1.86% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.47 to 2.24). After excluding children with high levels of depressive symptoms, the prevalence was 0.60% (95% CI: 0.37 to 0.84). Authorized school absences were much higher (mean difference: 35.6 [95% CI: 26.4 to 44.9] half-day sessions per academic year) and reported depressive symptoms were much more likely (odds ratio [OR]: 11.0 [95% CI: 5.92 to 20.4]) in children with CFS than in those without CFS. Female gender (OR: 1.95 [95% CI: 1.33 to 2.86]) and family adversity (OR: 1.20 [95% CI: 1.01 to 1.42] per unit family adversity index) were also associated with CFS.
CONCLUSIONS: CFS affected 1.9% of 16-year-olds in a UK birth cohort and was positively associated with higher family adversity. Gender was a risk factor at age 16 years but not at age 13 years or in 16-year-olds without high levels of depressive symptoms.
Source: Simon M. Collin, Tom Norris, Roberto Nuevo, Kate Tilling, Carol Joinson, Jonathan A.C. Sterne, Esther Crawley. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at Age 16 Years. Pediatrics, February 2016

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One thought on “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at Age 16 Years”

  1. nsilmon says:

    ME/CFS is a devastating illness. My 27 year old sister has been suffering for the past 5 years, and has deteriorated to the point of having to move back in with our parents as she can’t live Independently. More needs to be done to find a cause and cure for this disease. Please consider signing this petition for funding for research into the cause of ME in the UK

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