Thirty five prominent ME/CFS clinicians and biomedical researchers – including ME Association medical adviser Dr Charles Shepherd – have signed an open letter that urges the US Government to adopt the 2003 Canadian Consensus Criteria as the only case definition for the disease.
In the letter – sent yesterday (September 23) to President Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sibelius – the group urges Sibelius to abandon her efforts to reach out to groups such as the Institute of Medicine to create new clinical diagnostic criteria.
They say have reached a consensus in using the Canadian Criteria which, they say, is more scientifically accurate than the 1994 Fukuda definition which has been followed in the States for the past 20 years. Fukuda, for example, fails to recognise post-exertional malaise as a hallmark symptom of ME/CFS.
“As leading researchers and clinicians in the field, we are in agreement that there is sufficient evidence and experience to adopt the CCC now for research and clinical purposes, and that failure to do so will significantly impede research and harm patient care. This step will facilitate our efforts to define the biomarkers, which will be used to further refine the case definition in the future.”
They argue that using non-experts to draw up a new case definition will be a retrograde, wasteful step.
For background information on this story, catch up with Mary Dimmock's report at the Phoenix Rising website.