Fred Friedberg, PhD Named to Institute of Medicine Panel to Define Chronic Multisymptom Illness in Gulf War Veterans

July 9, 2013 - The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science has invited Fred Friedberg, PhD to serve on a committee responsible for developing a case definition for Chronic Multisymptom Illness (CMI) in Gulf War Veterans. The committee, which is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is expected to issue a report in approximately 12 months.

As many as one-third of veterans of the 1991 Gulf War suffer from a constellation of recurring symptoms that include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems. No medical or environmental cause for the syndrome has been identified. Recognizing the need for a precise definition of the condition to guide research and treatment, the VA asked the Institute of Medicine to convene a panel of experts to develop a case definition.

The committee will conduct a thorough review of the scientific and medical literature regarding CMI and establish a case definition along with guidelines for using it. Earlier this year, the Institute of Medicine issued a report on Gulf War and Health: Treatment of Chronic Multisymptom Illness which called on the VA to implement a system-wide program for identifying and treating CMI.

Dr. Friedberg is one of the country’s leading experts on chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. He is President of the International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and the editor of the journal Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior. Although CMI is not the same as CFS/ME, several symptoms are common to both.