Chronic fatigue syndrome gets new criteria

This issue covers topics including chronic fatigue, dietary cholesterol, and conference coverage about managing afib and giving medical lectures.

Because of vague symptoms and the lack of a definitive biomarker, chronic fatigue syndrome has often been a particularly difficult condition to pin down. However, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently issued a report calling for improvements in diagnosis, citing evidence supporting a physiologic basis as well as a universal symptom, post-exertional malaise. The IOM also suggested that the condition, which affects an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans, be renamed “systemic exertion intolerance disease.” Our story outlines the new diagnostic criteria, offers tips on distinguishing chronic fatigue syndrome from other disorders, and explains why some aren't thrilled with the proposed new name.

Dietary cholesterol has for years been on the list of things to avoid, but according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which issued its revised guidelines earlier this year, it may not be as big a problem as previously thought or even, in fact, a problem at all. Although the committee made other recommendations as well, the one about dietary cholesterol got by far the most attention. Our story looks at the reasoning behind the new recommendations and offers advice on what to tell patients who may be understandably confused about what constitutes a healthy diet now.

The Ebola outbreak of 2014 devastated many parts of West Africa and wreaked havoc on its health care system. For our feature story on the topic, our writer talked to 3 U.S. physicians who traveled to affected areas to help and asked them about what they saw and learned there, including the importance of a team environment, the physical demands of the work itself, and the need to remain alert to the possibility of Ebola in every country.

Our conference coverage this issue focuses on Hospital Medicine 2015, held in National Harbor, Md., this spring. Read one expert's top 10 pearls on atrial fibrillation, and learn how to give a great talk to any audience.

We hope you enjoy this issue. Keep an eye out as well for our July/August issue and our extensive coverage of Internal Medicine Meeting 2015, which was held last month in Boston. And as always, let us know what you'd like to read.


Jennifer Kearney-Strouse