XMRV Buzz Jan 18th and 20th

January 22, 2011

Posted by Cort Johnson

  • Dr. Mikovits Talks – Part II - we now have two accounts of Dr. Mikovits talk. Lannie has finished up her account and Paula Carnes has provided her overview as well. As often happens both contain bits the other does not. Paula reported Dr. Mikovits said that 30% of adolescents who have tested positive for XMRV will go on to develop a severe case of infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever in some countries) and will not recover; ie will go on to develop CFS. Dr. Mikovits also reports that, while ARV’s have not been the silver bullet hoped for, that as patients on them do improve a bit – antibodies to XMRV start showing up – indicating that their immune functioning has improved. Most people on ARV’s, however, have not improved. If you’ve improved on Rich Van Konynenburg’s methylation protocol – you’ll probably be happy to see it recommended and others might want to give this pretty unexpensive option a try.The WPI has found two variants of XMRV – one of which, if I got it right, is similar to the pMLV’s Alter found. Retesting has shown that about 30& of XMRV positive patients have both. The list of diseases XMRV has been found in has grown and grown and now includes FM, Lupus, Lyme disease (very strongly), peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, some lymphomas, MS, Parkinson’s, ALS, dementia….This report appeared to come from a medical practice that is testing its ‘neuro-immune patients’ but apparently not others so there is no information on it prevalence in non neuro-immune disorders. The most exciting statement was Dr. Mikovits statement that with regard the second-guessing that she ‘expects the politics will go away shortly’
  • Dr. Mikovits and Annette Whittemore Talk in Santa Rosa - Lannie has provided a nice overview of the first part of Dr. Mikovits, er Annette Whittemore’s talk (Annette had to step in for a bit when Dr. Mikovits plane was delayed). The dangers of sample freezing were mentioned again….could such a simple (but perhaps overlooked) factor be causing the negative results? We also heard that XMRV infection rates in families seem to be evenly split between men and women and a closer look at those original samples found a second strain of XMRV in about 30% of them. For more check out the overviewhere.
  • The Canada Studies – a Key Figure Shows Up? - in the look at the year ahead in CFS a set of very interesting Canadian XMRV Studies were missed. These studies, done in full communication with the WPI, were started last July and involve Dr. Stein, Dr. Tyrrell and Dr. Houghton at the University of Alberta.Dr. Houghton is an intriguing figure. He was nominated for the CFSAC panel last year by the CFIDS Association of America and was accepted. He kind of snuck in under the ME/CFS Community’s radar  but he may be the most celebrated researcher yet to serve on the panel. A former Lasker award winner for the discovery of hepatitis he was described in this way by the Pres. of the Univ. of Alberta.

    “Michael Houghton’s discovery of the hepatitis C virus is one of the most significant biomedical breakthroughs in the last 20 years. His work is the foundation of research to improve and save the lives of millions of people around the world. Having him as part of our already impressive team of scientists and the recent establishment of the University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology together propel the University of Alberta to the forefront of research into virus-based diseases.”—Indira Samarasekera, president, University of Alberta

    He has no background at all in CFS and Kim McCleary was pleasantly surprised he accepted their offer.  He was quite intrigued by EBV connection at Science Day and clearly touched by some of the stories and openly talked about wanting to get the pharmaceutical industry involved in a study. In the past year he received the Canadian Excellence Chair for Virology and he joined the newly established Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology which received $75 million dollars in grants at the University of Alberta. In his interview he talked about doing three things; two involved hepatitis C (170 million people around the world are infected) and the last was uncovering new viruses at play in diseases. No mention was made of CFS or XMRV but he is involved in the Alberta XMRV studies. In any case, connections do matter and one wonders if Dr. Houghton might have gotten connected to CFS at a very opportune time.

    His presence at the CFSAC panel is an illustration of the increasing prominence of many of the members. With Dr. Lipkin, Dr. Singh, Dr. Holmberg and an HIV head at the Univ. of Pittsburg all nominated to the panel (by the CAA – no other nominations are known, if any were received) hopefully more major figures will soon be joining Dr. Houghton.

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