ME, or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, was first used in 1956 to describe the condition. The name suggests muscle pain and inflammation of the brain – originally thought to be the cause of the illness. In the UK the term ME is still used although some groups have moved to the term Myalgic Encephalopathy which suggests muscle pain and brain dysfunction.
In 1988 the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was coined. Although this term is a little easier to understand, it has proved unhelpful. In countries such as Australia, where this term has been widely used, it has often generated the perception that the disease is just ‘chronic fatigue’ when it is actually a multi-symptom illness, and fatigue is not always the most disabling or challenging symptom.
In the USA, the name CFIDS or Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome, was adopted based on new theories of the underlying cause of the illness. This is also not considered an accurate description of the disease.
In Australia, most patient groups use the term ME/CFS. Until the underlying cause of the condition is known, it is to be expected a number of different names will continue to be used to describe it.
Reprinted from http://www.sacfs.asn.au/
Copyright ME/CFS Australia (SA) Inc