If you google “International Consensus Criteria” or “International Consensus Conference” you will find many academic articles on various pathologies.
When a disease is difficult to understand and cure it arises the need to gather all the medical knowledge and experience developed until that moment, in order to clarify the causes and the characteristics of that disease and to find the better strategy for an effective therapy, that means: classification, diagnostic criterion, protocols, general approach to patients, guidance for medical research, etc..
See, for example, this 3 pages report of 1999 on a rheumatic disease called Antiphospholipid Syndrome :
At page 2 you may read: “The preliminary classification criteria define the essential features of APS in order to facilitate studies of treatment and causation.”
Observe that, in general, when the investigation on a disease is at his beginning, the word “syndrome” is quite often used and the medical disciplines involved are many.
For ME there have been produced, until now, two ICC. The first one is of 2003, the famous Canadian ICC:
resumed in this very useful and concise version (translated in many languages) :
and the second one is very recent, July 25th of 2011 (translated in many languages):
I invite you to read both many times.
We will analyze better the Canadian one in the post called Diagnostic Criteria for Experts.
In the premise of the 2011 ICC it is illustrated the specific weight of this work, carried forward by clinicians and researchers of 13 countries, having in total 400 years of experience and 50.000 patients followed.
That’s why I think we should take into account this document before than any other one.
The most interesting is the statement that “Clinical and research application guidelines promote optimal recognition of ME by primary physicians and other healthcare providers, improve the consistency of diagnoses in adult and pediatric patients internationally and facilitate clearer identification of patients for research studies”.
And that’s what we want.