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Multi-Site Clinical Assessment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MCAM): Design and Implementation of a Prospective/Retrospective Rolling Cohort Study

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By E. R. Unger et al.

Abstract

In the Multi-Site Clinical Assessment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MCAM), we relied on expert clinician diagnoses to enroll patients from 7 specialty clinics in the United States in order to perform a systematic collection of data on measures of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Healthy persons and those with other illnesses that share some features with ME/CFS were enrolled in comparison groups. The major objectives were to:

1) use standardized questionnaires to measure illness domains of ME/CFS and to evaluate patient heterogeneity overall and between clinics;

2) describe the course of illness, identify the measures that best correlate with meaningful clinical differences, and assess the performances of questionnaires as patient/person-reported outcome measures;

3) describe prescribed medications, orders for laboratory and other tests, and management tools used by expert clinicians to care for persons with ME/CFS;

4) collect biospecimens for future hypothesis testing and for evaluation of morning cortisol profiles; and

5) identify measures that best distinguish persons with ME/CFS from those in the comparison groups and detect subgroups of persons with ME/CFS who may have different underlying causes. Enrollment began in 2012 and is planned to continue in multiple stages through 2017. We present the MCAM methods in detail, along with an initial description of the 471 patients with ME/CFS who were enrolled in stage 1.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 2017. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

Source: Unger ER, Lin JS, Tian H, Natelson BH, Lange G, Vu D, Blate M, Klimas NG, Balbin EG, Bateman L, Allen A, Lapp CW, Springs W, Kogelnik AM, Phan CC, Danver J, Podell RN, Fitzpatrick T, Peterson DL, Gottschalk CG, Rajeevan MS; MCAM Study Group. Multi-Site Clinical Assessment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MCAM): Design and Implementation of a Prospective/Retrospective Rolling Cohort Study. J Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Mar 17:1-10. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx029. [Epub ahead of print]

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