Differentiating post-polio syndrome from myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome, by Lauren Klebek, Madison Sunnquist & Leonard A Jason in Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior.  Published online: 06 Nov 2019 [doi.org/10.1080/21641846.2019.1687117]


Research abstract:


Overlapping and concomitant symptoms among similar chronic illnesses have created difficulties for diagnosis and further treatment. Three such chronically fatiguing illnesses, Post-polio syndrome (PPS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) fall under this category.


The aim of this study is to examine and distinguish between core symptoms found in these illnesses (i.e. muscle pain/weakness, fatigue or exhaustion, and autonomic symptoms) via three methods of analysis (DePaul Symptom Questionnaire 2 (DSQ-2), Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), and machine learning techniques).


Items assessing onset and severity for individuals who reported having PPS were found to have experienced an onset of PPS related symptoms roughly 30 years after the onset of Polio. Items found in the DSQ-2, SF-36 compared all illness groups and found that participants with ME/CFS were more functionally impaired across symptoms than those with PPS. Across all analyses, three domains most commonly differentiated the illnesses (neurocognitive, Post-exertional malaise, and neuroendocrine).


Examining functional impairment amongst chronically fatiguing illnesses using multiple methods of analysis can be an important factor in distinguishing similar illnesses. These findings support further analysis of analogous symptomatology among other chronic illnesses to assist in diagnosis.

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