A perspective on the various definitions of myalgic encephalomyelitis and the process of discovering its aetiology is presented. The importance of clinical guidelines is emphasised to encourage clinicians to provide clear descriptions of their individual patients required for proper clinical activity; diagnosis, estimation of severity of effect, prognosis, treatment and rehabilitation. This individual knowledge is informed by general and (hopefully) publicly confirmed knowledge resulting from scientific research during the second-person interaction which lies at the core of the clinical encounter. Both types of knowledge are essential.
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Published Online First 25 August 2006
Competing interests: None declared.