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The treatment showdown: CDC Toolkit vs IACFS/ME Primer

Tuesday 30 October 2012


From Phoenix Rising:


ProHealthThe Treatment Showdown : CDC Toolkit vs IACFS/ME Primer

Cort Johnson
July 24, 2012

The publication of the IACFS/ME Treatment Primer “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: A Primer for Clinical Practitioners” is a landmark event. In this article we’re going to compare, section by section, the two documents.

The CFIDS Association has created some good doctor education courses in the past but only the IACFS/ME – the organization of ME/CFS professionals – has the standing to begin to attempt to challenge the CDC’s dominance in this area. The CDC with its reputation in the medical community, considerable financial assets, professionally designed website, broad reach, etc. has a distinct advantage.

With its low budget (do donate to them when you pick up the Primer), anemic website and generally low visibility outside of the ME/CFS community, the IACFS/ME hardly seems to have a chance… but it has something the CDC doesn’t have; expertise and credibility within the ME/CFS community.

A 42-page document, the Primer took two years of work from prominent ME/CFS physicians and researchers with hundreds of years of experience in CFS between them, and a $10,000 grant from Hemispherx (the producer of Ampligen) to get done. On the other hand the CDC’s 16-page, large print Toolkit, appears to have been put together by staff.

Let’s take a brief look at the basics of two documents



  • CDC Toolkit - authors not stated
  • IACFS/ME Primer - Seven ME/CFS practitioners, 3 researchers (Fred Friedberg, Ph.D., Lucinda Bateman, B.S., M.D., Alison C. Bested, M.D. F.R.C.P.C., Todd Davenport, D.P.T., O.C.S., Kenneth J. Friedman, Ph.D., Alan Gurwitt, M.D., Leonard A. Jason, Ph.D., Charles W. Lapp, M.D., Staci R. Stevens, M.A. Rosemary A. Underhill, M.B., B.S., Rosamund Vallings, M.B., B.S.)


  • CDC Toolkit – 16 pages, extra-large type
  • IACFS/ME Primer – 42 pages, normal type

The IACFS/ME Treatment Primer begins with a substantial section on research findings (perhaps better moved to an appendix?) which will not be covered here. Next we compare the Diagnostic sections (including Diagnostic Tests, Exclusionary Conditions, Co-morbid Conditions, etc.) of the two treatment manuals. After that comes the Treatment sections.


The full article, with comments, can be found here.

See also our earlier (27 September) article, "Toolkit vs. Toolkit: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", by's Adrienne Dellwo.




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