Intended for healthcare professionals

Medical Practice

Postviral fatigue syndrome: time for a new approach

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 05 March 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:696
  1. Anthony S David,
  2. Simon Wessely,
  3. Anthony J Pelosi


    Controversial views on the postviral fatigue syndrome (“myalgic encephalomyelitis”) were critically appraised in their historical context and recent advances in research (virology, immunology, neurophysiology, histopathology, and epidemiology) reviewed. Flaws detected in certain aspects of recent research included in particular failure to define fatigue, inadequate assessment of psychological features, and absent or inappropriate control groups. The findings suggest that the fruitless dichotomy of “organic versus functional” should be replaced by a multifactorial approach. Most important, epidemiological studies with explicit operational case definition are essential before progress can be made in the management of this distressing disorder.

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