Myalgic encephalomyelitis, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome or ME/CFS, is a disease of many mysteries. Even the most fundamental questions remain unanswered: how does ME/CFS develop, and how can patients recover?
Researchers across the globe are addressing different aspects of this enigma. They seek to uncover a fundamental disruption that underlies the array of symptoms – or at least to identify an exclusive test result, or biomarker, that a general practitioner could use in making a diagnosis. Some labs focus on immune function, others on the gut microbiome, aerobic energy, or brain inflammation, among others.
Promising results are common, but two recent studies of cell metabolism have garnered special attention for their potential in both aiding diagnoses and explaining what goes wrong.
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I took a physiology course so you don’t have to! I’ve combined some surprising basics with key terms and research on myalgic encephalomyelitis (aka chronic fatigue syndrome) into less than six minutes. And I’ve tried to keep it fairly simple.
Here’s the script: Continue reading
My wife and I recently saw Jennifer Brea‘s film Unrest at the AFI DOCS festival. We both found it moving. Here’s my review – and my reaction as a person with ME/CFS:
[Update from Sept. 2018 here!] After reading my original posts on his hypothesis (summary, interview, and comments) explaining ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome), Dr. Willy Eriksen sent me additional information regarding a couple of remaining questions. These are: 1) how his model accounts for problems in the gut and 2) how glial cell activation could require weeks to die down after rituximab treatment but only days for post-exertional malaise (PEM). I’ll provide his answers here, although I’ve inserted them in the original posts as well. Continue reading
[Update from Sept. 2018 here!] This interview with Dr. Willy Eriksen, a research professor at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, is the second of three blog posts on his hypothesis regarding the cause of and potential cure for myalgic encephalomyelitis, aka chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Here I ask Eriksen to elaborate on his published hypothesis. So please see the first post for a summary of his hypothesis in relatively plain language—or, if you have access, read his journal article, “The spread of EBV to ectopic lymphoid aggregates may be the final common pathway in the pathogenesis of ME/CFS.”
In the third post, I consider Eriksen’s model in comparison to other recent research and my own experience. Continue reading
[Update from Sept. 2018 here!] In a recent paper, Dr. Willy Eriksen proposes a complete explanation for the development, diversity, and persistence of myalgic encephalomyelitis, aka chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). He also suggests a possible cure. Seeing that this potentially groundbreaking research was attracting little attention, I contacted Dr. Eriksen and interviewed him via email. This post contains a summary of his hypothesis, which I’ve tried to present in everyday language.
Other posts contain 1) the interview, which contains considerable new information about his hypothesis, and 2) my understanding of how Eriksen’s model fits with other research—and with my experience. Continue reading
[Update from Sept. 2018 here!] In two other posts, I summarize Dr. Willy Eriksen’s hypothesis for the cause of and cure for myalgic encephalomyelitis, aka chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and I interview Eriksen. Here I—a well-educated sufferer but no biologist or physician—consider this model in the light of other research and my own experience. In other words, I’m thinking about it in print. While I have questions and reservations, I think Eriksen might be right about some important aspects of ME/CFS. Continue reading
The Emerging Energy Paradigm, Simplified
This post contains the narration to this slideshow:
Why do people with myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, have less energy than healthy people – even on relatively good days? On bad days – after overexertion – everything goes haywire, but why do they have less energy on ordinary days?
Several bits of recent research converge on an answer to this basic question. Continue reading
On Sept. 17, 2010, I fell ill and, barring a medical miracle, will never fully recover. It took more than three years to get a diagnosis: “chronic neuroimmune dysfunction,” better known as chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis. Since it’s ME/CFS Awareness Day, I thought I’d share some basic information about this disease. Continue reading