Syndromes characterized by persistent fatigue, musculoskeletal pain,
sleep disturbance, and subjective cognitive impairment have
been common problems in clinical practice for decades. The
chronic fatigue syndrome case definition was created to
standardize the patient population in research studies and to
foster a systematic and comprehensive approach to the attempt
to define the etiology and pathophysiology of these syndromes.
The pathogenesis of chronic fatigue syndrome remains unknown,
though it does appear to be associated with subtle
neuroendocrine and immunologic abnormalities. Treatment of
chronic fatigue syndrome is empirical. Significant palliation
is often possible, though treatment success requires skillful
practice of the art of medicine.