Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Research paper: CFS, the immune system and viral infection, 2 July 2011

From the M.E. Association's website, a post by Tony Britton entitled 'Research paper: CFS, the immune system and viral infection, 2 July 2011':
From Brain, Behaviour and Immunity, the official journal of the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society (PNIRS). 2011 Jul 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Chronic fatigue syndrome, the immune system and viral infection.

Bansal AS, Bradley AS, Bishop KN, Kiani S, Ford B.
Dept. of Immunology, Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, Carshalton, Surrey, SM5 1AA and Chronic Illness Research Team, Stratford Campus, University of East London, London E15 4LZ, UK.


The chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), as defined by recent criteria, is a heterogeneous disorder with a common set of symptoms that often either follows a viral infection or a period of stress. Despite many years of intense investigation there is little consensus on the presence, nature and degree of immune dysfunction in this condition. However, slightly increased parameters of inflammation and pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL) 1, IL6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF) α are likely present. Additionally, impaired natural killer cell function appears evident. Alterations in T cell numbers have been described by some and not others. While the prevalence of positive serology for the common herpes viruses appears no different from healthy controls, there is some evidence of viral persistence and inadequate containment of viral replication. The ability of certain herpes viruses to impair the development of T cell memory may explain this viral persistence and the continuation of symptoms. New therapies based on this understanding are more likely to produce benefit than current methods.

Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.

PMID: 21756995 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's it like to have severe ME/CFS? It's a living death and hell in solitary confinement

BEFORE a viral illness struck me down in 1999, I never imagined that such a disabling and painful illness could exist without it being taken seriously by British doctors and health care professionals.

It's a lonely feeling and tough to take when you see the scepticism in their eyes and/or hear it in their voices. When they don't take M.E. seriously how are others, family and friends, expected to understand or even believe us?

Watching the following excellent video from getwellfromme.com entitled "What is it like to have M.E.?" made me cry.

Today, my answer to the question "What is it like to have severe M.E.?" would be this: "It's a living death and hell in solitary confinement".

Tomorrow, I might be feeling worse but my answer to the question would still be the same because every day is bad.

Some days even are worse if I do too much, other days are horrendous for months on end if I get an infection or go out.

I've been too ill to sit up long enough to go out in a wheelchair and manage the basics of day to day life after I return home.

Hopefully, now that I am on painkillers which are helping me to control some of the symptoms, next year will be different.

If you, or any person you know or care for, are suffering from severe M.E., please contact the The 25% M.E. Support Group, the UK's only national support group for people severely affected by M.E. (c. 25% of M.E. sufferers are severely affected, hence the name).

There are two separate forms of Membership in order to try to provide a suitable service for as many sufferers as possible, whether severely, moderately or mildly affected by ME and, of course also provide support to carers of ME sufferers.

Credit: Video courtesy of getwellfromme.com
Hat tip: Rachel M @bluecoffeemug / YouTube http://youtu.be/qBriPTFOtmY (read comments)

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