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Byron Hyde

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Dr. Byron Marshall Hyde is a Canadian physician known for his interest in myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). His voluminous 1992 publication containing the proceedings of the first global conference on ME is considered by some to be 'the bible of ME'.[1] Hyde strongly favours the notion that ME and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are different medical diagnoses.


Hyde started out as a geophysicist. He then studied premedicine at the University of Toronto, where he obtained a degree in chemistry and nutrition. At the University of Ottawa he graduated in medicine. Since 1985, he has worked exclusively with ME/CFS patients. In 1988, he founded the Nightingale Research Foundation, named after Florence Nightingale who is thought to have suffered from ME. This Canadian organization specializes in myalgic encephalomyelitis and related conditions such as enteroviral infections. The foundation claims to have developed the world's largest database on ME/CFS patients and pathology. [2]

Hyde is not a frequent publicist, but he is a regular speaker at ME/CFS conferences all over the world. Hyde is also particularly active in the legal field, providing evidence to support patients' claims. In 2006, Hyde gave expert evidence to the Gibson inquiry into ME/CFS in England.[3][4]

Definition of ME

In 2007, the Nightingale foundation published Hyde's definition of ME, based on his preparations for the Gibson inquiry. Here, he clearly distinguishes between ME and CFS:

  • "M.E. is a clearly defined disease process. CFS by definition has always been a syndrome."

According to the Nightingale definition of ME,

  • "Primary M.E. is an acute onset biphasic epidemic or endemic (sporadic) infectious disease process, where there is always a measurable and persistent diffuse vascular injury of the CNS in both the acute and chronic phases. Primary M.E. is associated with immune and other pathologies."

In this definition, Hyde says that if a patient's illness is not measurable on a SPECT scan, then it cannot be ME.

Criticism of CFS

Hyde strongly opposes the use of the working diagnosis chronic fatigue syndrome as a disease entity, stressing that definitions are not diseases. In presenting his book 'Missed Diagnoses' of 2009, he writes:

  • "Thirty years ago when a patient presented to a hospital clinic with unexplained fatigue, any medical school physician would have told the students to search for an occult malignancy, cardiac or other organ disease or chronic infection. The concept that there is an entity called chronic fatigue syndrome has totally altered that essential medical guideline. Patients are now being diagnosed with CFS as though it were a disease. It is not. It is a patchwork of symptoms that could mean anything. The original concepts of searching for occult disease are relevant to patients today with CFS, ME and other fatiguing illnesses. Furthermore, because you do not find pathology does not mean there is none."


  • Hyde BM (1991), "Myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome): an historic perspective", Canadian Diseases Weekly Report, Jan;17 Suppl 1E:5-8, PMID: 1669354
  • Hyde BM (ed.) (1992), "The Clinical and Scientific Basis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", Nightingale Research Foundation, Ottawa, Canada with editorial and conceptual advice from Levine P and Goldstein J, ISBN 0-9695662-0-4
    • Hyde BM, "The Definitions of M.E./CFS, A Review", pp. 5-18
    • Chabursky B, Hyde BM, Jain A, "A Description of Patients who Present with a Presumed Diagnosis of M.E./CFS", pp. 19-24
    • Hyde BM, Bastien S, Jain A, "General Information Post-Infectious, Actute Onset M.E./CFS", pp. 25-37
    • Hyde BM, Jain A, "Clinical Observations of Central Nervous System Dysfunction in Post-Infectious, Acute Onset M.E./CFS", pp. 38-65
    • Hyde BM, Jain A, "M.E./CFS: The Physical Signs of Disease", pp 66-78
    • Hyde BM, "Myalgic Encephalopmyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome): An Historical Perspective", pp. 111-116
    • Hyde BM, "A Bibliography of ME/CFS epidemics", pp. 176-186
    • Hyde BM, "The Search for a Retrovirus in M.E./CFS, A Review", pp. 330-339
    • Hyde BM, Marinacci A, Von Hagen K, "An Historical Review of the Electromyographic Features of Post-Infectious M./E./CFS", pp. 409-422
    • Hyde BM, Biddle R, McNamara T, "Magnetic Resonance in the Diagnosis of M.E./CFS, A Review", pp. 425-431
    • Hyde BM, Jain A, "Cardiac and Cardiovascular Aspects of M.E..CFS, A Review", pp. 375-383
  • Hyde BM (1998), "Are M.E. and CFS Synonymous Terms?", conference paper, New South Wales, February [1]
  • Hyde BM, Bergman S (1998), "Akureyri Disease (myalgic encephalomyelitis), forty years later", Letter, Lancet, Nov 19;2(8621):1191-2, PMID: 2903396
  • Diaz-Mitoma F, Turgonyi E, Kumar A, Larocque L, Hyde BM (2003), "Clinical Improvement in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Associated with Enhanced Natural Killer Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity: The Results of a Pilot Study with Isoprinosine®", Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 11:2 Jan
  • Hyde BM (2003), "The Complexities of Diagnosis", in: Jason LA, Fennel PA, Taylor RR, "Handbook of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-41512-X
  • Hyde BM (2007), "The Nightingale Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) Definition", The Nightingale Research Foundation, Ottawa, Canada [2]
  • Hyde BM, Leveille J, Vaudrey S, Green T (2007), "Thyroid Malignancy Association with Cortical & Subcortical Brain SPECT Changes In Patients Presenting with a Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", Alasbimn Journal, October, 10 (38) [3]
  • Hyde BM (2009), "Missed Diagnoses - Myalgic Encephalomyelitis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", 20090524

External links


  1. A 'Hummingbirds' guide to M.E., on Byron Hyde
  2. Yue M, Chillemi S (2008-06-29), "The Grub Street Interview - Dr. Byron Hyde: CFS and the Nightingale Foundation", Grub Street online magazine
  3. Gibson I. e.a. (2006), "Inquiry into the status of CFS / M.E. and research into causes and treatment", Group in Scientific Research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), Londen, England
  4. Oral hearing at the Gibson Enquiry, 2006