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Is multiple chemical sensitivity a clinically defined entity?

In 1996 a WHO/IPCS Workshop has suggested to use as an appropriate descriptor of MCS the broader term "Idiopathic Environmental Intolerances (IEI)", in order to incorporate "a number of disorders sharing similar symptomatologies". Research was strongly encouraged. The following points have been put forward as a precondition to define MCS as a clinical entity: (a) establishment of diagnostic criteria, (b) identification of pathogenic mechanisms, together with, (c) an explanation of relationship between exposures and symptoms. Against this background, progress made in the fields of sensory physiology and neurobehaviour research must be debated. In particular, recent results on processing of cognitive stimuli have to be considered. IEI/ MCS patients exhibited differences vs. controls in their reactions to intranasal challenge, consistent with changes in cognitive processing of suprathreshold chemosensory information. Trait anxiety and focus of attention have clearly been identified as major components in eliciting neurobehavioural MCS symptoms. Hence, the question as to whether MCS should be regarded as a clinically defined entity remains controversial, but important progress can be noticed in elucidating and defining the nature of this phenomenon, by a combined effort of several disciplines (toxicology and behavioural toxicology, psychology and psychophysiology, and clinical medicine). The new situation will call for a re-evaluation of traditional positions.[1]

References

  1. Is multiple chemical sensitivity a clinically defined entity? Bolt, H.M., Kiesswetter, E. Toxicol. Lett. (2002) [Pubmed]
 
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