Reflections on the Institute of Medicine's systemic exertion intolerance disease

Leonard A. Jason, Madison Sunnquist, Abigail Brown, Stephanie McManimen, Jacob Furst

Full article

A PDF of the full version of the article, published in Polish Archives of Internal Medicine, can be accessed free of charge here.


The Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the United States has recently proposed that the term systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) replace chronic fatigue syndrome. In addition, the IOM proposed a new case definition for SEID, which includes substantial reductions or impairments in the ability to engage in pre-illness activities, unrefreshing sleep, postexertional malaise, and either cognitive impairment or orthostatic intolerance. Unfortunately, these recommendations for a name change were not vetted with patient and professional audiences, and the new criteria were not evaluated with data sets of patients and controls.

A recent poll suggests that the majority of patients reject this new name. In addition, studies have found that prevalence rates will dramatically increase with the new criteria, particularly due to the ambiguity revolving around exclusionary illnesses. Findings suggest that the new criteria select more patients who have less impairment and fewer symptoms than several other criteria. The implications of these findings are discussed in the current review.

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