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Differentiating Multiple Sclerosis from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by Kati, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

    An article just published from the DePaul group:

    Jason, L.A., Ohanian, D., Brown, A., Sunnquist, M., McManimen, S., Klebek, L., Fox, P., & Sorenson, M. (2017). Differentiating Multiple Sclerosis from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Insights in Biomedicine, 2, No. 2: 11.


    Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), and Chronic Fatigue syndrome are debilitating chronic illnesses, with some overlapping symptoms.

    However, few studies have compared and contrasted symptom and disability profiles for these illnesses for the purpose of further differentiating them.

    The current study was an online self-report survey that compared symptoms from a sample of individuals with MS (N = 120) with a sample of individuals with ME or CFS (N = 269).

    Respondents completed the self-report DePaul Symptom Questionnaire. Those individuals with ME or CFS reported significantly more functional limitations and significantly more severe symptoms than those with MS.

    The implications of these findings are discussed.
    Dolphin, ahimsa, wastwater and 18 others like this.
  2. ScottTriGuy

    ScottTriGuy Stop the harm. Start the research and treatment.

    Toronto, Canada
    This part was awesome - my bold:

    This study found that patients with MS and those with ME and
    CFS have significant functional limitations and high levels of
    somatic symptoms. However, those with ME or CFS evidenced
    greater impairment on SF-36 sub-scales as well as most of the
    DSQ symptoms. In our sample, those with ME and CFS also
    reported particularly high levels of disability and low levels of
    work status. These findings provide further evidence for health
    care professionals of the seriousness of ME
    and CFS.

    Even though the group with ME or CFS reported greater disability,
    less full or part-time work, and more functional limitations than
    the MS group, it is of interest that there were not significant
    differences on the role emotional or mental health subscales.

    This suggests that with a great illness burden, and continuing
    skepticism about the legitimacy of ME and CFS, those with this
    illness tend to be functioning relatively well on mental health
    related indices.
    ahimsa, Mary, MEMum and 30 others like this.
  3. dangermouse

    dangermouse Senior Member

    That's really interesting :thumbsup:
    MEMum, merylg and hellytheelephant like this.
  4. bombsh3ll

    bombsh3ll Senior Member

    Both can be horrible illnesses but I know a few people with MS and I personally would gladly swap. The experience of healthcare, at least in the UK, is also much more positive for MS patients, plus there is massive disparity between the resources that go into researching treatments for MS compared to ME despite the numbers affected & levels of suffering and disability caused by the latter.
    Mary, Jan, merylg and 8 others like this.
  5. Darach


    barbc56, ballard and Manganus like this.
  6. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

    @Darach, Dr Leonard Jason is well published and well respected professional who has served at CFSAC (US federal advisory committee). You can view his profile on MEpedia here:

    I did not look up the journal, however I know that it may be difficult for researchers in the field to publish. They face the stigma too.
    MEMum, AndyPR, pernille and 5 others like this.
  7. Darach


    Thanks :)
  8. Simon


    Monmouth, UK
    In summary, it is apparent that both patient groups have many serious symptoms and functional limitations. This has epidemiologic significance, as both illnesses affect many Americans, with CFS prevalence rates of 0.42% versus MS rates of 0.09%; [12]. In addition, some patients have both sets of symptoms, with some estimating that 14% of patients with MS [29] have the CFS Fukuda et al. [18] symptoms. However, these are distinct illnesses, as MS represents an exclusionary illness for a CFS diagnosis. The finding that ME and CFS group had more functional limitations and more serious symptoms than those with MS provides additional evidence to the seriousness of ME and CFS. Continued research to further compare ME and CFS with other chronic conditions can inform improved methods for differentiating the conditions for the purpose of diagnoses, treatment, and understanding etiology.

    Note that other studies have found the same thing
    Woolie, BurnA, nandixon and 12 others like this.
  9. slysaint

    slysaint Senior Member

    Yet they get taken seriously and we get dumped in the MUS bin.:(
    Mary, Kati, dangermouse and 2 others like this.
  10. Janice Hargreaves

    Janice Hargreaves

    I am not so sure that it is still that easy to put us in the MUS bin due to all the biomedical findings such as which is review about herpes viruses and their effects on human diseases. I found it very interesting. What does everybody else think?
    MEMum likes this.
  11. RogerBlack

    RogerBlack Senior Member

    It is not clear this is closely tied to CFS.
    There are several much less ambiguously tied to CFS biomedical findings - see the 'seminal' thread.
    MEMum likes this.
  12. lnester7

    lnester7 Seven

    I am confused now, why they list CFS and ME as different, I thought in US was the same.
  13. RogerBlack

    RogerBlack Senior Member

    They mean ME/CFS.
    The methods section of the paper makes this clear. They are using two groups, one MS, and one ME/CFS.
    BurnA, MEMum, barbc56 and 1 other person like this.
  14. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

    I'm a bit confused. Is the paper talking about relapsing and remitting MS or Progressive MS? While I can see a comparison between RRMS, Progressive MS has a different outcome and a much more serious mortality rate. I am not saying we don't suffer nor don't have a greater mortality rate than the general population. . However, I think MS and mecfs are two different conditions that in many ways are more different than the same.

    Wouldn't the point where you are in the progression of MS, make a difference as far as being disabled?

    My dad's wife has RR MS. She has had it for almost 20 years and while her symptoms can become quite debilitating, such as migraines, pain, problems with sight, exhaustion the symptoms come and go. That's far different than Progressive MS.

    Is progressive me/cfs even a recognized medical condition? I find that my symptoms do tend to be worse but I wonder how much has to do with aging, the body being under constant and accumulating stress, lack of sleep etc. While these factors are also apparent in RR and progressive MS, The progression of decline in PMS is faster as well as some of the symptoms are different symptoms and the fact that you can actually see brain lesions. I'm not sure MS has PEM.

    The two conditions IMHO are not comparable and whether our symptoms are better or worse, especially with self reporting may be a moot point. I would rather see more research that specifically concentrates on me/cfs.

    I guess the one positive is that like MS our symptoms are real!

    Now I could be misinformed so if I am, tell me why. It's an interesting topic. DePaul is well recognized for its me/cfs and Fibromyalgia research.

    Edit. I've just started reading the study in depth but am so tired from writing this post, I will have to do this later. I may have misinterpreted some of what I previously read.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    Dolphin and Mary like this.
  15. Ash

    Ash aka @smashman42 'SortaDerpy' on Twitter

    I believe they are referring to CFS as the Fuduka only patients & ME as the Carruthers et al* CCC definition patients

    (* 2003 CCC in the notes at reference #18, not 2011 ICC, both are Carruthers et al so had to check that reference)
    lnester7 likes this.

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