Melissa Kaplan's
Chronic Neuroimmune Diseases
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Last updated January 1, 2014

The Disease of a Thousand Names

Compiled by Melissa Kaplan

Think CFIDS/FM/ME is a recent disease, cropping up suddenly in the 1980s? Think again. It has been described in the literature in accounts going back to the 1700s. There have been numerous clusters and epidemics around the world, including in the United States, this century alone.

The following descriptive names have been compiled from the work of Dr. Gordon Parish, Dr. David S. Bell, Dr. Henri Rubenstein, and Dr. Byron Hyde. The following represent just a few of the names that have been given to this protean illness.


Poliomyelitis Names
"Postpolio syndrome is considered by the medical community to be an indisputable entity. Unlike ME/CFS, there is no physician who doubts its existence. However, postpolio syndrome symptomology is identical to that of ME/CFS. The only difference is that, in postpolio syndrome, there is clear evidence of paralytic poliomyelitis in the patient concerned. Curiously, no note was ever made of postpolio syndrome except in the recent medical literature, despite the fact that poliomyelitis has been in existence as an epidemic disease since 1881 when the first epidemic of poliomyelitis occured in Sweden. The rise in postpolio syndrome closely parallels the increaing incidence of ME/CFS observed since 1979. It is our opionion at Nightengale [Foundation, Dr. Hyde's research and information organization in Canada] that postpolio syndrome is no more than ME/CFS (in an individual with previous history of clinical poliomyelitis)."

atypical poliomyelitis
abortive poliomyelitis
encephalitis stimulating poliomyelitis
encephalitis resembling poliomyelitis
postpolio syndrome
posterior poliomyelitis
sensory poliomyelitis

Names Based Upon Location

Iceland disease
Akureyi disease
Coventry disease
Tapanui flu
Otago mystery disease
Royal Free disease
Lake Tahoe mystery disease
Lyndonville chronic mononucleosis
English disease

Neuromyasthenia-related Names

epidemic neuromyasthenia
epidemic pseudo myasthenia
sporadic postinfectious neuromyasthenia
neurocirculatory asthenia

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Names

myalgic encephalomyelitis
benign encephalomyelitis
benign myalgic encephalomyelitis
benign subactue encephalomyelitis
epidemic myalgic encephalomyelitis
epidemic encephalomyelopathy
acute infective encephalomyelitis
epidemic diencephalomyelitis
lymphoreticular encephalomyelopath

Myalgia-Type Names
The fibromyalgia names are based upon a symptom complex seen in ME, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and several other non-associated illnesses.)

epidemic malaise
persistent myalgia following sore throat
Damadian's ache
myofascial syndrome
muscular rheumatism
fibromyalgia syndrome
epidemic myositis
lymphocytic meningo encephalitis with myalgia and rash
syndrome polyalgique idiopathique diffus (SPID)

Personal Names

Da Costa's Syndrome
Beard's Disease

Symptom-based Names

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
la spasmophilie
Raggedy Ann syndrome
English sweats
effort syndrome
tetanie chronique idiopathique

Bacterial Names

chronic brucellosis
chronic Lyme disease

Combined Virus/Symptom Names

post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS)
persistent viral fatigue syndrome

Immune-based Names

chronic immune activation syndrome (CIAS)
chronic immune dysfunction syndrome (CIDS)
low natural killer cell syndrome
multiple chemical sensitivity sydnrom
ecological disease
allergic fatigue syndrome
antibody negative lupus
antibody netabive Lyme disease
chronic activate immune dysfunction syndrome (CAIDS)
chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS)
naxalone-reversible monocyte dysfunction syndrome (NRMDS)

Epstein-Barr Virus-based Names
(Keep in mind that EBV and mononeucleosis has now been discarded as the cause of CFS/ME. Not only is the virus prevalent in the non-CFS/ME population, not all CFS/ME patients show positive titres to EBV.)

chronic Epstein-Barr virus syndrome (CEBV)
chronic active Epstein-Barr virus infection (CAEBV)
chronic mononeucleosis
familial chronic mononeucleosis
chronic infectious mononeucleosis
chronic active Epstein-Barr virus infection
chronic mononeucleosis-like syndrome

Hypothalamic Names

epidemic vegetative neuritis
neurocirculatory asthenia
vasoregulatory asthenia
vasomotor instability
vasomotor neurosis
habitual chronic hyperventilation syndrome

The "Atypical" Names

atypical multiple sclerosis
atypical migraine

Miscellaneous Names

soldier's heart
epidemic vasculitis syndrome

Media Names

yuppie flu
yuppie plague


When I was going from doctor to doctor, seeking to find out just what was wrong with me (fevers, chronically feeling chilled to the point of shivering on warm Summer nights, swollen glands in throat and armpits, fatigue, brainfog, memory problems, head-to-toe pain, eye problems and more), I saw an infectious diseases doctor at UCLA, referred to me by the endocrinologist I saw there. Turns out she was a specialist in tropical diseases but agreed to do some blood tests to see what turned up, especially given my recent background in working with wildlife and having spent a year in Israel (albeit more than a decade previous to that time). What I now know to be typical abnormalities were found (weird SED rate, abnormal liver function), but what didn't hit me until I was typing up this list was that of all the zoonotic diseases she tested me for (including Q fever, toxoplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, etc.) the only one that came up positive was canine brucellosis. I joked about getting "kennel cough" from my dog who caught it when he was hospitalized for hip surgery. Now, it's not so funny...




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