Contrasting Case Definitions: The ME International Consensus Criteria vs. the Fukuda et al. CFS Criteria

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Editor's Comment: The authors of this study selected a group of 114 patients who met the CDC "Fukuda" case definition and then determined how many of them met the International Consensus (ICC) criteria. The subset that met the ICC criteria were more functionally impaired, and also had higher psychiatric comorbitities.The authors concluded that "based on the present analyses, the ME-ICC criteria appear to select a more functionally impaired and symptomatic group of individuals, with regards to both mental and physical health." While the ICC group had a higher rate of psychiatric diagnoses, it should be kept in mind that any patient presenting with a wide variety of medically unexplained symptoms will automatically receive a psychiatric diagnosis of somatization disorder. Rather than call into question the validity of the ICC, this study may simply point to a fundamental flaw in the nature of psychiatric diagnoses.

Note: The full article can be accessed from the abstract.

By Abigail A Brown et al.

This article contrasts the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis International Consensus Criteria (ME-ICC; Carruthers et al., 2011) with the Fukuda et al. (1994) CFS criteria. Findings indicated that the ME-ICC case definition criteria identified a subset of patients with more functional impairments and physical, mental and cognitive problems than the larger group of patients meeting the Fukuda et al. (1994) criteria. The sample of patients meeting ME-ICC criteria also had significantly greater rates of psychiatric comorbidity. These findings suggest that utilizing the MEICC may identify a more homogenous group of individuals with more severe symptomatology and functional impairment. Implications of the high rates of psychiatric comorbidity found in the ME-ICC sample are discussed.

Source: North American Journal of Psychology;2013, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p103. March 2013. Brown, Abigail A.; Jason, Leonard A.; Evans, Meredyth A.; Flores, Samantha

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