Up to 2.5 million Americans have myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). While researchers tie it to problems involving the brain, immune system, and energy metabolism, the causes of the illness and a cure remain undiscovered. The term systemic exertional intolerance disease (SEID) can also be used for this condition. Dana J. Brimmer, PhD, a visiting scientist at the CDC, explains what doctors do know.

Q: What is this disease?

Brimmer: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a serious, long-term illness that can radically alter patients’ lives and last for years. People with ME/CFS often have [symptoms…

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