State of the Art: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

  • Michael Lacour
  • Klaus Schmidtke
  • Peter Vaith
  • Carl Scheidt
Part of the Allergy Frontiers book series (ALLERGY, volume 4)

The ‘multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome’ (MCS) is defined descriptively as a (1) chronic condition (2) with symptoms that recur reproducibly (3) in multiple organ systems (4) in response to low levels of exposures (5) to multiple unrelated chemicals and which (6) improve or are resolved when incitants are removed. Patients' symptom profiles indicate that two different symptom clusters exist with predominant ‘central’, to the central nervous system (CNS)-related, and ‘peripheral’, mucosa-associated chemical sensitivities. The latter is identical with occupational rhinitis and asthma. Thus, an MCS diagnosis should only be made in cases with predominant exposure-related, non-specific complaints of the CNS. Our understanding of the aetiology and pathogenesis of MCS is still incomplete. There is sufficient evidence that psychological, but not neurophysiologic or biological factors contribute to the induction and perpetuation of MCS. There are no specific laboratory tests to establish an MCS diagnosis. Differential diagnostic procedures encompass a clarification analogous to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) standards, evaluation of additional symptoms and a psychiatric evaluation. At present, no evidence-based treatment options exist.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Chemical Sensitivity Vanilloid Receptor Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Occupational Rhinitis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Lacour
    • 1
  • Klaus Schmidtke
    • 2
  • Peter Vaith
    • 3
  • Carl Scheidt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic MedicineFreiburg University HospitalFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Center for Geriatric Medicine and GerontologyFreiburg University HospitalFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Rheumatology and Clinical ImmunologyFreiburg University HospitalFreiburgGermany

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