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Lancet. 1999 Sep 11;354(9182):936-9.

Functional somatic syndromes: one or many?

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, London, UK.


We review the concept and importance of functional somatic symptoms and syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome. On the basis of a literature review, we conclude that a substantial overlap exists between the individual syndromes and that the similarities between them outweigh the differences. Similarities are apparent in case definition, reported symptoms, and in non-symptom association such as patients' sex, outlook, and response to treatment. We conclude that the existing definitions of these syndromes in terms of specific symptoms is of limited value; instead we believe a dimensional classification is likely to be more productive.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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