Intended for healthcare professionals


What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 21 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:928

Re: What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?

Some time has elapsed since this editorial was written, and it may be relevant now to point out that 30,000 cases of post-traumatic hypopituitarism are missed each year, and many of them are misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome The incidence of PTHP is between 30 and 50 per 100,000 so the prevalence in the UK may, after decades of neglect, be around a million. If these people were removed from the CFS equation we might well see the prevalence of ME/CFS/fibromyalgia reduced by a third. Several hypopituitarism patients who have experienced an ME misdiagnosis have written to the BMJ and their stories may be found on these links:

Schneider HJ et al, Hypothalamopituitary Dysfunction Following Traumatic Brain Injury and Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Haemorrhage: A Systematic Review, 2007, JAMA

Fernandez-Rodriguez E et al, Hypopituitarism following traumatic brain injury: determining factors for diagnosis, Front Endocrinol 25 August 2011 doi: 10.3389/fendo.2011.00025

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 June 2014
Joanna Lane
Coulsdon CR5 2DT