Eriksen’s ME/CFS Hypothesis: An Update

In June 2017, I put out a series of blog posts about Dr. Willy Eriksen’s hypothesis regarding the causes and potential treatment of ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, aka chronic fatigue syndrome): summary, interview, and reaction. Now, in September 2018, Dr. Eriksen has provided an update:

Has your hypothesis changed since you published it?

No, my hypothesis is the same. So far, I have not seen any study results that have convinced me that the hypothesis is wrong.

Have your ideas regarding potential treatments changed? Continue reading

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Every storm (and sunny day) is due to global warming—really!

As I write this, the sky is pouring cats and dogs on D.C., as it has been for the past several days. In fact, it’s record-setting. Elsewhere in the world, there are people frying eggs on the sidewalk where before they might have prepared a delightful salad. But just a few weeks ago D.C. had unusually dry weather. And last winter we suffered through a bizarrely consistent stretch of cold. In short: we’re living through turbulent times.

Inevitably, news stories ask whether each of these unexpected weather events is “caused by global warming.” Continue reading

Vision Zero after zero progress?

Washington, D.C., like other cities around the world, is trying to eliminate traffic deaths through a program called Vision Zero. Inspired by Sweden, this has been a model project in many ways, but the lack of positive results is testing its proponents.

Effecting change per se is my topic here, rather than the specific alterations that D.C. et al. have wrought as part of Vision Zero. Continue reading

Notes on lobbying Congress for ME/CFS funding

Hart-Senate-LobbyOn March 6, I accompanied the irrepressible Emily Taylor of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative to lobby members of Congress. Specifically, we urged them to add ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome) to a list of diseases eligible for research funding from the Department of Defense. This post contains some reflections on the experience. Continue reading

ME/CFS: Thiamine is key; coffee & tea inhibit it

As I’ve noted elsewhere, thiamine forms part of a suite of supplements that might counteract energy problems in ME/CFS. In any case, thiamine (or thiamin) is vital to energy production and other biological processes.

A lot of people think that coffee or tea is vital to getting enough energy, too. For years I was one of those people, and I looked for the instant tea with the highest tea and caffeine content. Yet I noticed over many hiatuses from tea – but not caffeine – that I actually felt moderately better without it. How could this be?

It turns out that tea, coffee, raw shellfish, raw freshwater fish, and other foods contain “anti-thiamine factors.” Continue reading

Who’s ‘Our Inner Ape’? Or, I got your hippie chimp right here, and it’s not a bonobo

Here’s a YouTube rendition of the slideshow I presented at Nerd Nite DC in 2016. The script follows the video. A shorter version is here.

A woman recently came up to tell me that bonobos were her favorite primates. “Not humans?” I asked, but I knew better. Thanks to primatological popularizers, bonoboism has become widespread. But people looking for a “hippie chimp” are lionizing the wrong species. Continue reading

Jakartans can’t be turned into pedestrians, so why try?

A few months ago, the New York Times published a pretty good article on why people in Jakarta walk so little. Since I studied this and related questions in-depth from 2010 to 2012, I have some quibbles and additions, but all in all I recommend it.

The article includes quotes from a pro-pedestrian activist. However, in a presentation of my research, I labeled the promotion of pedestrianism in Jakarta a “lost cause.” Continue reading