Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Debate: “Diagnose kids, after all”

The journal Pediatrics has published a new study which disputes a controversial perspective it presented last year. In August 1997, Dr. A. Plioplys published an editorial called “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Should Not be Diagnosed in Children.” He argued since there was no treatment, diagnosing CFIDS might cause a child to exhibit “illness behavior” that would artificially prolong the illness.

In the new report, patients reported that the medical care and social support they received as a result of their CFIDS diagnosis was helpful. Four years after they were first treated, 43% of the patients’ parents said they were “cured” and 52% said they were “improved.” Only 5% considered their child to be “the same.”

These doctors attributed the recovery rates to the fact that half of the children were referred to them within six months of becoming ill. Because medical intervention started sooner, the children might have had a better chance at recovery, although this study could not prove that theory.

Krilov, L.R., et al. (August 1998). Course and outcome of chronic fatigue in children and adolescents. Pediatrics, 102:2, pp. 360-366.

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