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By the way, doctor: Any help on the horizon for chronic fatigue syndrome?

Updated: August 01, 2006

Q. I would be most grateful for information concerning chronic fatigue syndrome, a disorder from which I have suffered for the past 10 years. Do you see any help on the horizon?

A. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex illness that is defined entirely by its symptoms. Profound fatigue is the main one, but the official diagnosis also includes others (muscle pain, sleep that doesn't refresh, feeling especially tired after exertion, to name a few). We don't yet have a way to make the diagnosis by a physical examination or with a lab test. Since anyone can say they have a symptom, some doctors suspect that the syndrome is not a real biological disorder but mainly psychological.

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