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Archived Comments for: An evaluation of exclusionary medical/psychiatric conditions in the definition of chronic fatigue syndrome

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  1. Study demonstrates that the criteria for CFS remain too vague

    Ellen Goudsmit, School of Psychology, UEL

    20 November 2009

    Firstly, I concur with the reviewer who questioned the inclusion of non-melancholic depression and exclusion of melancholic depression. The response; that melancholic depression overlaps with CFS (subtext: non-melancholic depression is very different) might benefit from testing.

    My interpretation of the findings is that the current working case definition of CFS relies on to many ubiquitous symptoms, that we need to review the concept and renew efforts to identify the core features. Anyone who treats these patients, and believes them, knows that CFS/ME is not a matter of fatigue, concentration problems, the odd pain, a sore throat and headaches. As a menopausal scientist, I now meet the criteria for CFS. It's hormonal, not CFS. Given the prevalence of child abuse (estimates vary but it may affect 1 in 4 women in the UK), any association with illness should not be a surprise, especially when the illness is defined in terms of fatigue (also seen in chronic stress), headaches (idem ditto), general pain (idem ditto) and disturbed sleep (idem ditto).

    A history of abuse and chronic stress (e.g. at work) should be exclusions for research.

    Competing interests

    None declared