Mark Berry begins a series of articles on the 9th Invest in ME International ME Conference in London, with a look at three presentations on autoimmunity
This is the first in a series of articles reporting on the 9th Invest in ME International ME Conference (IIMEC9), held as usual in the Lecture Theatre at 1 Birdcage Walk in Westminster on May 30th, 2014.
You can view the full conference programme (with biographies of the speakers) here, and the Conference Journal is available as a PDF document here. Invest in ME have posted a conference report by Rosamund Vallings, and Phoenix Rising tweeted the conference live.… Read More
Simon McGrath looks at theories that microglia, the brain’s immune cells, might be overactive and driving the symptoms of ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.
In Part 1, he described how the body reacts to infection or wounding with a “sickness response” that partly resembles ME/CFS, and how the microglia are the last step in the physiological mechanisms that lead to sickness response.
Could microglia be behind the symptoms of ME/CFS? Artist’s image of a microglia. © 2012 Hagop Kaneboughazian
Sickness response is a good thing, helping us survive by resting to fight off infection. But it evolved as a short-term response, and may be harmful if it sets in for the long-term, perhaps playing a role in ME/CFS.… Read More
Simon McGrath looks at theories that microglia, the brain’s immune cells, could trigger and perpetuate the symptoms of ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.
‘Sickness Behaviour’: the immune system releases cytokines in response to infection, which activates microglia in the brain and creates symptoms including fatigue, pain and cognitive problems.
Your dog can’t tell you when she’s feeling sick, but even so, you know. She moves slowly, she doesn’t eat, she sleeps a lot, she curls up in a corner by herself. “Sickness behavior” is shared by all mammals, and in humans it’s been shown to include fatigue, cognitive problems, body aches and pains and disturbed sleep.… Read More
Graham, Janelle and Bob, have once again excelled themselves with their latest take on the ‘poisoned apple’ that was the PACE Trial…
Once upon a time, long, long ago a king and queen ruled over a distant land. The queen was kind and….
Whoops, sorry there! I got confused for a moment. Wrong fantasy tale…
Several years ago a team of psychologists and psychiatrists published the first of their fables about the effectiveness of CBT (and graded exercise) in treating ME/CFS. It was known throughout the world as “The PACE Trial”.
A group of valiant, honest crusaders, mostly members of Phoenix Rising, struggled diligently and bravely to produce an analysis of the faults of the trial and, hosted by Phoenix Rising, published their report.… Read More
In a follow-up article to the recent IACFS/ME conference presentation in San Francisco, and after speaking at length with Dr. Mady Hornig, ‘searcher’ delves deeper into the impressive work being completed by the Chronic Fatigue Initiative, and focuses in on those cytokine results …
Members of the Chronic Fatigue Initiative (CFI) and Scott Carlson, the executive director of the Hutchins Family Foundation, gave a talk at lunch-time on the second day of IACFS/ME to share their research thus far and their future plans.
This presentation was one of the highlights of the conference to me because of the high quality research CFI is doing. … Read More
The latest video release from the Dutch group ME/cvs Vereniging, with Dr Charles Shepherd from the UK ME Association, and announcing a live chat session to be held Thursday, April 10, 2014…
Dutch group ME/cvs Vereniging present their latest video followed by a chat session with Dr Charles Shepherd from the UK ME Association
ME/cvs Vereniging launched a series of broadcasts from expert clinicians and researchers in January 2013, as part of a government subsidized project called, “Science to Patients”.
Each expert has also taken part in Q & A sessions, enabling patients to ask questions on both theoretical and practical aspects of ME/CFS.… Read More
The second in a new series of ‘In Brief’ articles, where Andrew Gladman provides a helpful insight into the science behind fairly common topics, exploring how they relate to ME/CFS. This time he discusses the adrenal glands and why they can be such a talking point …
Diagram showing the location of the adrenal glands, above the kidneys
While the frequent topics of conversation relating to ME/CFS appear to now be infectious agents, autoimmunity and often a dysfunctional nervous system, many patients and researchers still turn their attention to problems within the endocrine system, namely the adrenal gland.
As the gland within the body centred around stress responses, it is initially quite a logical place to look for problems.… Read More
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin.
Image courtesy of the Columbia University Center for Infection and Immunity
An ambitious $1.27m international, patient-led fundraising campaign storms into action. Sasha invites you to join it!
This week sees the launch of a major new crowdfunding campaign: the Microbe Discovery Project. The campaign aims to raise $1.27 million (£760,000; €910,000) by 31 December 2014 to fund world-famous virus-hunter Dr. Ian Lipkin’s ground-breaking study of ME/CFS and the gut microbiome – our intestinal ecosystem of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
The study is spectacular, because of the series of crucial, cumulative steps that it makes to identify what might be driving our immune problems and hence our symptoms.… Read More
Simon McGrath takes a brief look at a recent paper that reveals some of the most powerful evidence of cognitive problems in people with ME/CFS to date…
It might not come as a huge surprise to patients, but a new study has found that mental fatigue can persist long after mental exertion is over.
Specifically, after a 3-hour session of cognitive testing of memory and attention, healthy controls took an average of 7 hours to recover, compared with 57 hours – more than two days – for CFS patients.
While one previous study found mental fatigue continues days after physical exertion, this appears to be the first research paper to demonstrate that mental exertion itself leads to prolonged mental fatigue.… Read More
In the first in a new series of ‘In Brief’ articles, Andrew Gladman provides a helpful insight into the science behind fairly common topics and explores how they relate to ME/CFS. This time he looks at the muscles, exploring how our reported symptoms might be associated with our condition and considers why such problems could occur…
Muscles of the human head. Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator
When ME/CFS is discussed, conversation quickly passes into the realm of infectious agents, immune system defects and, often, the autonomic nervous system.
Little heed is generally paid to one of the most obvious systems affected by the condition – the muscles.… Read More
Simon McGrath se aseguró recientemente una entrevista con el mundialmente famoso doctor Ian Lipkin – un científico que sigue creyendo que EM / SFC tiene una causa física – para descubrir más sobre sus planes para un importante estudio del microbioma intestinal y para averiguar por qué está pidiendo el apoyo de la comunidad de pacientes…
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin ha demostrado un claro compromiso con la investigación en EM / SFC. Primero fue su estudio sobre el virus Borna en la década de 1990, y luego el estudio histórico que descartó el XMRV como causa, y más recientemente hemos oído hablar del enorme estudio en lo inmune y patógenos – una gran colaboración con muchos médicos e investigadores principales, entre ellos el Dr.… Read More
Simon McGrath recently secured an interview with the world famous Dr Ian Lipkin – a scientist who continues to believe that ME/CFS has a physical cause – to discover more about his plans for a major study of the gut microbiome and to find out why he’s asking the patient community for its support…
Dr W. Ian Lipkin has demonstrated a clear commitment to ME/CFS research. First came his study looking at Borna virus in the 1990′s, and then the landmark study that ruled out XMRV as a cause, and most recently we have heard about the huge pathogen and immune study – a vast collaboration with many key clinicians and researchers, including Dr Dan Peterson and Professor Jose Montoya.… Read More
Andrew Gladman takes a brief look at what cytokines are and how they might relate to our disease – exploring some of the research that is indicating their involvement in disease pathways…
Interferon Alpha By Nevit Dilmen
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0]
In recent years ME/CFS research has turned the spotlight on several areas, such as autoimmunity, the cardiovascular system and the autonomic nervous system.
While it is fair to say that much remains unknown about their function and behaviour, cytokines have a role to play in all these areas and they are being talked about with increasing regularity.
What are cytokines?… Read More
Bugs are not all bad, in fact many in our gut are essential to good health, but problems with these could help explain some diseases, possibly even ME/CFS. Simon McGrath takes an introductory look at the Microbiome – an area that is fast becoming a focus for several research teams looking at our own illness…
Home for gut microbes; few survive in the stomach but they flourish in the small intestine and dominate the colon – 60% of the dry weight of poop is bacteria.
The microbiome – the bugs that live in our gut and on our skin – has become a hot topic, not least because of the coverage of ‘faecal transplants’ that apparently cure life-threatening infections by restoring the microbiome with poop from healthy donors.… Read More
A concluding article for the ‘In Brief…’ Series, summing up the previous articles which attempted to explain the science behind fairly common topics and exploring how they relate to ME – by Andrew Gladman.
Over the past few weeks and months I’ve been busily researching, evaluating and writing the series of articles under the subheading of ‘In Brief…’. The original idea behind the articles came partly from frustration and partly from personal interest in the subject areas. From a personal standpoint I became sick just over a year ago and after roughly 6 months I landed a diagnosis of ME/CFS, forcing me to withdraw from university due to the plethora of symptoms I was and still am experiencing.… Read More
The fifth and final article in a series attempting to explain the science behind fairly common topics and exploring how they relate to ME/CFS. This time the topic is the nervous system – by Andrew Gladman.
The nervous system, specifically the autonomic nervous system, is frequently discussed in relation to ME/CFS, with quite a plethora of research being targeted in this area.
Many of the symptoms that ME/CFS patients suffer with, such as crushing fatigue, tremor sensations and headaches, could come as a direct consequence of abnormalities in the nervous system.
In this article, I aim to explore the organization and general function of the nervous system as well as considering the research, both historic and ongoing, as it relates to ME/CFS.… Read More
The fourth in a series of short articles attempting to explain the science behind fairly common topics and exploring how they relate to ME. This time the topic is the Cardiovascular System – by Andrew Gladman.
The cardiovascular system is not one that is commonly discussed in relation to ME, and yet it is an area that research has shown displays one of the more measurable abnormalities in patients.
Suffice it to say that many of the symptoms that ME patients suffer with, such as muscle fatigue, dysregulation of the nervous system and headaches, could come as a direct consequence of abnormalities in the vascular system.… Read More
The third in a series of short articles attempting to explain the science behind fairly common topics and exploring how they relate to ME. This time the topic is Mitochondria – by Andrew Gladman.
A single mitochondrion – hundreds of these organelles exist within each single cell of the body.
Over the years it is fairly safe to say that finding consistent physiological abnormalities in ME has proven difficult for researchers, and that this has likely reinforced the notion that ME is largely a psychological disease – an error which only in recent years is being shaken off.
One area that has shown consistent interest is the mitochondria, with many researchers acknowledging or suspecting mitochondrial dysfunction as a real physiological problem.… Read More
The second in series of short articles attempting to explain the science behind fairly common topics and exploring how they relate to ME. This time the topic is Autoimmunity – by Andrew Gladman.
Electron microscopic image of a human lymphocyte.
In the last few years it’s fairly safe to say that the topic of autoimmunity has moved from a fairly unknown entity in the ME field to perhaps the leading hypothesis in many peoples’ eyes. This surge in attention likely comes from the rituximab trials in Norway undertaken by Doctors Fluge and Mella. By chance they discovered that ME patients, who then went on to develop lymphoma, treated with rituximab for their cancer also experienced significant, albeit transient, relief from near all of their ME symptoms.… Read More
The first in a new series of short articles attempting to explain the science behind fairly common topics and exploring how they relate to ME. This time we delve into the complex and somewhat controversial world of viruses – by Andrew Gladman.
Computer generated image of Rhinovirus 3 capsid comprised of hundreds of copies of 3 proteins. Within this shell there is the viral genome and several functional enzymes to allow for replication of the genome and to aid the hijacking process.
I think it safe to say that no topic is quite as disputed as the role that viruses might play in the pathology of ME.… Read More