Sufferers of chronic-fatigue syndrome have long complained about what they regard as a trivializing name for their condition. Now, they can claim two victories: it was renamed systemic-exertion-intolerance disease (SEID), and was proclaimed to be a real disease by a panel from the Institute of Medicine, an influential government advisory body.
The 15-member panel, which released a 235-page report Tuesday also offered new and simplified diagnostic criteria: profound fatigue, total exhaustion after even minor physical or mental exertion, unrefreshing sleep and "brain fog."
The disease, afflicting anywhere from 860,000 to 2.5 million Americans, can leave sufferers incapacitated, incapable of attending school or going to work. The majority are undiagnosed because there is no test and sufferers battle a prevailing stigma that their ailment is primarily psychological.