Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

Compiled by R. Sanderson

Reviewed and  edited by K. Casanova

Editor's Note, 2015: Dr. Klimas is now the Director of the Institute for Neuro Immune Medicine at Nova Southeastern University, professor of medicine, and chair of the Department of Clinical Immunology at NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.  She is no longer President of IACFS/ME. She won the Annual Provost’s Research and Scholarship Award at Nova in 2015 and the 2014 Perpich Award from the International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (IACFS/ME) for distinguished community service. She also was featured as a “Woman to Watch” on WFOR CBS 4.

On Sunday, April 30, 2006, Dr. Klimas presented a lecture titled, “Research Advances in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Impact on Treatment,” at the Connecticut CFIDS & FM Association’s Spring Conference.

Dr. Nancy Klimas is Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami and the Director of Research for the Clinical AIDS/HIV Research at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She has been a leader in the field of ME/CFS research, is a founding editor of the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome [no longer published as of 2009] and is the current President of the International Association for CFS/ME (IACFS/ME). 

As much as everyone looks forward to hearing Dr. Klimas speak, such an event is never long enough. She always has a great deal of information to share with her audience, and it can be very hard to keep up with her. Therefore, please note that a lot of data was incorporated directly from a copy of her PowerPoint presentation (which includes complete information on the articles cited), along with elaborations made by Dr. Klimas on specific topics. In this way, we hope to provide you with as much information as is possible on recent research advances.

Since CFS was the term used in the lecture, this name is used throughout this summary.

Dr. Klimas began her presentation with a brief review of issues that continue to affect our patient population: including the clinical case definition for CFS (Canadian Consensus Panel Clinical Case Definition for CFS/ME vs. the CDC 1994 criteria); CFS epidemiology and the high percentage of undiagnosed CFS cases; and the economic impact of CFS on productivity.

She emphasized how these issues, along with the trivializing name, have negatively impacted treatment. Klimas acknowledged that many physician attitudes show a negative bias towards CFS due to its name. A survey of 811 GPs revealed that 44% did not feel confident making the diagnosis [of CFS], and 41% did not feel confident in treating it. Physicians had reported they would likely have more confidence in the diagnosis if they had a friend or family member with CFS. The doctors also reported that education that emphasizes acceptance of CFS as a real entity would improve their confidence in treatment. (Source: Bowen J et al, Family Pract April 1 (2005)).

She provided an update regarding recent research advances and publications (2003 through early 2006) using her well-known model as a basis.

Notice about names

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently using ME/CFS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are calling the illness CFS.

Until there is consensus on a name for the illness, the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association name will not change.