NCNED - Epidemiological characteristics of chronic fatigue- syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis in Au


Active Member
Authors Johnston SC, Staines DR, Marshall-Gradisnik SM
Received 21 September 2015
Accepted for publication 31 March 2016
Published 17 May 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 97—107
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Harminder Singh
Peer reviewer comments 3
Editor who approved publication Professor Henrik Toft Sörensen

Samantha C Johnston1,2 Donald R Staines1 Sonya M Marshall-Gradisnik1,2

1National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases, Menzies Health Institute Queensland,2School of Medical Sciences, Griffith University, Parklands, QLD, Australia

Background: No epidemiological investigations have previously been conducted in Australia according to the current clinical definitions of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). The aim of this study was to describe sociodemographic and illness characteristics of Australian patients with CFS/ME.

A cross-sectional survey on the medical history of patients enrolled in an Australian CFS/ME research database between April 2013 and April 2015. Participants were classified according to Fukuda criteria and International Consensus Criteria.

A total of 535 patients diagnosed with CFS/ME by a primary care physician were identified. The mean age of all patients was 46.4 years (standard deviation 12.0); the majority were female (78.61%), Caucasian, and highly educated. Of these, 30.28% met Fukuda criteria. A further 31.96% met both Fukuda criteria and International Consensus Criteria. There were 14.58% reporting chronic fatigue but did not meet criteria for CFS/ME and 23.18% were considered noncases due to exclusionary conditions. Within those meeting CFS/ME criteria, the most common events prior to illness included cold or flu, gastrointestinal illness, and periods of undue stress. Of the 60 symptoms surveyed, fatigue, cognitive, and short-term memory symptoms, headaches, muscle and joint pain, unrefreshed sleep, sensory disturbances, muscle weakness, and intolerance to extremes of temperature were the most commonly occurring symptoms (reported by more than two-thirds of patients). Significant differences in symptom occurrence between Fukuda- and International Consensus Criteria-defined cases were also identified.

This is the first study to summarize sociodemographic and illness characteristics of a cohort of Australian CFS/ME patients. This is vital for identifying potential risk factors and predictors associated with CFS/ME and for guiding decisions regarding health care provision, diagnosis, and management.

Keywords: chronic fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue, diagnosis, epidemiology

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I browsed through the full paper (quickly), it looks interesting. Although I'd love to hear from our Australian members who might have some extra background info?

Looks like it confirms what we already knew: Fukuda criteria are a lot less specific than ICC. Nice to see the obvious difference made between chronic fatigue and ME/CFS. Problem with this survey (which they state themselves) is that it comes from a specific patient group, not from the general public. So many people out there undiagnosed, they are never counted in.

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