Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Day

A Very Happy Christmas to readers to my blog, your families and friends.

From the Bible - Luke chapter 2 v 8-20

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”


Mum’s Christmas poem 2014 –

Have you heard

Have you heard the news the angels brought
To shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem?
Do you know the One the shepherds sought
When Son of God came down to world of men?

Have you heard of how the wise men came
Each bringing gifts and worshipping the Child?
Have you come to love the wondrous name
Of Him who walked this earth all undefiled?

Have you heard of how the Saviour died
And took sin’s punishment upon the cross?
How the Son of God was crucified
To save His people from eternal loss?

Have you heard of how the God of grace
So willingly forgives His people’s sin?
Have you heard, He freely will efface
Each blot and stain of those who trust in Him?

Have you thought about eternal days
When life’s short chapter in this world is o’er?
Have you thought of what the Bible says,
And through God’s Son sought life for evermore?

© Jean Stapleton December 2014



The Great Gathering – J C Ryle

For example, Christmas is peculiarly a time when English people "gather together." It is the season when family meetings have become almost a national institution. In town and in country, among rich and among poor, from the palace to the workhouse — Christmas cheer and Christmas gatherings are proverbial things. It is the one time in the year with many, for seeing their friends at all. Sons snatch a few days from London business to run down and see their parents; brothers get leave of absence from the desk to spend a week with their sisters; friends accept long-standing invitations, and contrive to pay a visit to their friends; boys rush home from school, and glory in the warmth and comfort of the old house. Business for a little space comes to a standstill — the weary wheels of incessant labor seem almost to cease revolving for a few hours. In short, there is a general spirit of "gathering together."

Happy is the land where such a state of things exists! Long may it last in England, and never may it end! Poor and shallow is that philosophy which sneers at Christmas gatherings. Cold and hard is that religion which pretends to frown at them, and denounces them as wicked. Family affection lies at the very roots of well-ordered society. It is one of the few good things which have survived the fall, and prevent men and women from being mere devils! It is the secret oil on the wheels of our social system which keeps the whole machine going, and without which neither steam nor fire would avail. Anything which helps to keep up family affection and brotherly love is a positive good to a country. May the Christmas day never arrive in England when there are no family meetings and no gatherings together!


For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3 v 16).

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Hepatitis B vaccination and associated oral manifestations: a non-systematic review of literature and case reports

(My illness was started by a Hepatitis B vaccination.)


Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2014 Nov;4(6):829-36. doi: 10.4103/2141-9248.144870.
Hepatitis B vaccination and associated oral manifestations: a non-systematic review of literature and case reports.

Tarakji B1, Ashok N1, Alakeel R2, Azzeghaibi S1, Umair A1, Darwish S1, Mahmoud R3, Elkhatat E3.

Author information

1 Department of Oral Maxillofacial Sciences, Alfarabi College of Dentistry and Nursing, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2 Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, King Saud University, Alfarabi College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Restorative Dentistry Sciences, Alfarabi College of Dentistry and Nursing, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

Hepatitis B vaccine has been administered in children and adults routinely to reduce the incidence of the disease. Even though, hepatitis B vaccine is considered as highly safe, some adverse reactions have been reported. A literature search was carried out in PubMed, accessed via the National Library of Medicine PubMed interface, searching used the following keywords: Hepatitis B vaccine and complications from 1980 to 2014. A total of 1147 articles were obtained out of which articles, which discuss the complications occurring orally or occurring elsewhere in the body, which have the potential to manifest orally after hepatitis B vaccination were selected. A total of 82 articles were identified which included 58 case series or case reports, 15 review articles, 4 cross sectional studies, 3 prospective cohort studies, one retrospective cohort study and a case control study. After reviewing the literature, we observed that complications seen after Hepatitis B vaccination are sudden infant death syndrome, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, vasculititis optic neuritis, anaphylaxis, systemic lupus erytymatosus, lichen planus and neuro-muscular disorder. Of these complications, some are manifested orally or have the potential to manifest orally. Although, most of the complications are self-limiting, some are very serious conditions, which require hospitalization with immediate medical attention.

Friday, 12 December 2014

M.E. and exercise – when will they ever learn?


From the M.E. Association –

M.E. and exercise – when will they ever learn?  editorial in our winter 2014 ‘ME Essential’ magazine

Our chairman, Neil Riley, wrote this in the winter 2014 edition of our membership magazine, ‘ME Essential’.

My sister Kate lives in Australia. In August she came to Europe with her husband for a holiday. Their first port of call was Amsterdam.

I was too ill to meet her so my daughter, Rachel, went and took along her IPad. And so it was that on a cold, wet Saturday morning, Kate and I had a “FaceTime” video linkup as she sat in an Amsterdam coffee house whilst I was on the sofa at home.

I said I was so sorry that I could not make it to Holland to see her but explained that I was too ill with my ME. “Oh” she said, “you need to try that Graded Exercise therapy, it was in the newspaper the other day. It can cure you, you know”.

There was a stunned silence here and a gasp from my daughter Rachel in Amsterdam. What could I say? How do you explain to your sister, whom you imagine after all these years, would know about ME, that such a therapy was much more likely to make me worse than better.

I had to end the” FaceTime” link. I then felt the tears trickling down my face. “How could she”, I thought, doesn’t she know me?

I am not the only ME sufferer whose nearest and dearest have doubted them. It is heart-breaking. Only those who live with us each day or who have taken the trouble to understand what this illness is, can see what our life really is like.

Our quality of life is less than cancer and multiple sclerosis patients up to six months before their death, yet we are treated as though we just lack the will to exercise and pick up our bed and walk. The lack of recognition of the seriousness of our illness is a blight on the medical profession.

This is a powerful message that we must get across. Not only to our nearest and dearest but to the world at large.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Statins Cause Brain Dysfunction

From Dr. Brownstein’s Blog -

Statins Cause Brain Dysfunction


Statins are the most profitable medications in the history of Big Pharma. They are promoted as the go-to medications to prevent/treat heart disease. A recent study found nearly 100% of men and 62% of women aged 66-75 should take a statin medication even if their cholesterol level is normal. (1)

Listening to conventional cardiologists, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and many other mainstream groups would have you believe that statins should be placed in the water supply. If statins significantly lowered the risk of heart disease–they don’t–and if statins were not associated with adverse effects–they areؘ–then I could entertain a discussion on the widespread use of statins. However, statins are associated with a wide range of serious adverse drug reactions which should cause any health care provider to think twice or at least to use caution when prescribing this class of medication.

Let’s look at some of the adverse drug reactions from statins. The following numbers come from the FDA Adverse Events Reporting System. The information was compiled by Philip Blair, M.D. When I saw the huge numbers of serious reactions reported for statin users gathered from Dr. Blair’s data analysis, I said, “holy cow”. Dr. Blair explained that the FDA data, reported by practicing physicians in the trenches, shows frequent associations between statins and numerous serious conditions. Keep in mind that very few adverse drug reactions—from 1-10%–are actually reported to the FDA. This information was first reported to me by my colleague Duanne Graveline, M.D. Dr. Graveline suffered two transient global amnesia events and chronic neuropathy all due to taking a statin medication. He has written an excellent book about his experience with Lipitor. The book is titled, “Lipitor, Thief of Memory.”

Statins work by poisoning an enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) which is needed to produce cholesterol, adrenal and sex hormones, memory proteins and maintain cell energy. The highest concentration of cholesterol in the body is found in the brain. Can you guess an organ that will suffer when cholesterol production is blocked? If you guessed the brain, you would win the prize.

All of the following events occurred from 2004 to 2014 and were gathered from the FDA Adverse Events Databases.

Brain function: There were 36,605 reports of brain dysfunction which included memory impairment, transient cases of global amnesia, confusion, paranoia, disorientation, depression, and dementia related to statin use. Remember, this number is thought to represent only 1-10% of the true number of adverse drug reactions.

Can you imagine how quickly the FDA would pull a vitamin from the market place if is shown to cause tens of thousands of cases of brain dysfunction?

I have seen many patients suffer with a decline in brain function from taking a statin drug. Knowing how statins work—they poison an enzyme needed to make cholesterol—would allow anyone to predict that brain problems will be more common from statin use.

Folks, statins are responsible for many more adverse effects. In fact, there are well over 100,000 adverse event reports related to statins. In addition to the brain, statins negatively affect the functioning of the liver, kidneys, and muscles. I will report more about these other adverse drug effects in later posts.

I wrote in my book, Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, “You can’t poison a crucial enzyme or block an important receptor for the long-term and expect a good result.”

Perhaps we could live with all these adverse drug reactions if statins significantly lowered the risk for cardiovascular disease. But, they don’t. Statins have never been convincingly shown to prevent a first heart attack in both men and women. In men, the best of the statin studies show a 1-4% reduced risk of preventing a secondary cardiac event. In women, the numbers are worse.

It is shocking to me that so many health care providers and nearly all cardiologists would ever prescribe these medications for any patient. Heart disease patients are not developing heart disease due to a statin-deficiency syndrome. Perhaps these health care providers should start doing what doctors were taught to do: Search for the underlying cause of the illness and address that.

More information about statins can be found in my book along with recommendations about what you can do to avoid taking a statin medication.

DrB

1. JAMA Int. Med. Published online November 17, 2014. E1

2. Duanne Graveline, M.D. Lipitor, Thief of Memory

 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

A well-known carol to mark the start of December -

HARK! the herald angels sing
‘Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.’
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim,
‘Christ is born in Bethlehem!’

Hark! the herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the new-born King!’

Christ, by highest Heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb!
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail, the incarnate Deity!
Pleased as Man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.

Hail, the Heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home:
Rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head!
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore,
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine!

Charles Wesley, 1707-88,
George Whitefield, 1714-70,
Martin Madan, 1726-90,
alt John Wesley, 1703-91


A quote from George Whitefield –

What, shall we not remember the birth of our Jesus? Shall we yearly celebrate the birth of our temporal king, and shall that of the King of kings be quite forgotten? God forbid! No, my dear brethren, let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church with joy in our hearts: let the birth of a Redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Savior’s love never be forgotten!…

What can we do to employ our time to a more noble purpose than reading of what our Redeemer has done and suffered; to read that the King of kings and Lord of lords came from His throne and took upon Him the form of the meanest [least significant] servant; and what great things he underwent. This, this is a history worth reading, this is worth employing our time about ...

Monday, 24 November 2014

Exercise Intolerance Quotes

“The whole idea that you can take a disease like this and exercise your way to health is foolishness, it’s insane.”  PAUL CHENEY, M.D., Ph.D.

"Those physicians and researchers who are familiar with the disease of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) are in agreement that activity or exercise can lead to a severe relapse.

How to engage in desired or necessary activities in a way that does not lead to a crash thus is an important topic for those with the disease.

Following are more than two dozen comments from experts in M.E. on this topic.

Except where indicated otherwise, the quotes were supplied directly by the named individuals for this collection (in some cases a few years ago).

Some of these quotes refer to the “PACE Study,” which is discussed on this page http://paradigmchange.me/pace of the Paradigm Change site."

Here's a list of those whose comments are given:

LUCINDA BATEMAN, M.D.

DAVID BELL, M.D.

KEITH BERNDTSON, M.D.

JEFFREY S. BLAND, Ph.D.

BRUCE CARRUTHERS, M.D.

PAUL CHENEY, M.D., Ph.D.

STEPHANE DELLIAUX, M.D., Ph.D.

DEREK ENLANDER, M.D.

FRED FRIEDBERG, Ph.D.

KENNETH FRIEDMAN, Ph.D.

STUART GRAY, Ph.D.

BYRON HYDE, M.D.

LEONARD A. JASON, Ph.D.

NANCY KLIMAS, M.D.

ANDREAS KOGELNIK, M.D., Ph.D.

MARTIN LERNER, M.D.

ALAN R. LIGHT, Ph.D.

MICHAEL MAES, M.D., Ph.D.

NEIL McGREGOR, Ph.D.

SARAH MYHILL, M.D.

DANIEL PETERSON, M.D.

RICHARD PODELL, M.D.

JUDITH A. RICHMAN, Ph.D.

CHARLES SHEPHERD, M.D.

RITCHIE SHOEMAKER, M.D.

CHRISTOPHER SNELL, Ph.D.

NIGEL SPEIGHT, M.A., M.B., B. Chir.

VANCE SPENCE, Ph.D.

IRVING SPURR, MBBS, GMC

ELEANOR STEIN, M.D.

STACI R. STEVENS

JACOB TEITELBAUM, M.D.

ROSAMUND VALLINGS, MNZM, M.B., B.S.

CONSTANCE VAN DER EB, Ph.D.

RICH VAN KONYNENBURG, Ph.D.

MARK VAN NESS, Ph.D.

WILLIAM WEIR, FRCP

To read the quotes, please go to http://paradigmchange.me/exercise-quotes/

Friday, 21 November 2014

‘Voices from the Shadows’ available for free viewing


‘Voices from the Shadows’ available for free viewing – but with an X-rated advisory notice

21 November 2014

The hour-long film Voices from the Shadows is now available to watch for free until the end of the year – on Vimeo – by entering a promo code of VOICES after clicking the “rent for $3” button.

Vimeo requires viewers to register with a name, email address and password.

But the film-maker Natalie Boulton warns that the film is not considered suitable viewing for children and young people with ME. It is intended for adults who are not familiar with the illness.

The film shows how harmful ignorance and misunderstanding about the illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME can be.

Patients with mild or moderately severe ME have become very severely ill when their illness is mismanaged: largely due to the way many different conditions have been muddled together by inadequate definitions and vague criteria.

Lack of recognition of the delayed exacerbation of ME symptoms following overactivity and over exposure to stimuli has caused many patients to deteriorate and become chronically and severely ill.

There is very little recognition of the clinical picture of very severe ME and these patients then become vulnerable to being misdiagnosed with functional illness. Alongside this, many patients are misdiagnosed as having CFS/ME, and their other illnesses remain undiscovered and untreated.

Natalie writes: “Please share this post but do not omit the warning that it could be very distressing for young people with ME to view it. Please try to prevent it being inappropriately accessed.”


Saturday, 8 November 2014

These We Have Loved by Peter Jackson & Friends


For those who like the good old traditional style hymns and choruses, this new double CD by Peter Jackson and friends will make enjoyable listening, with Peter accompanying on the piano the clear Scottish singing.  As you listen to his playing, you would certainly never know that Peter is blind!  

As he writes on the album cover -

I've always been a fairly ambitious person, but with advancing years, ambitions began to retreat: yet one remained obstinate and unsatisfied. In my travels, I had mentioned it to quite a number of churches who, for the most part, thought very favourably of this remaining ambition – to put on CD many of the choruses that we loved to sing in churches, in rallies, and around the piano in times long past.

I wondered whether this ambition would ever be fulfilled, and then came a communication from my colleagues in Fraserburgh who shared this ambition with me. This double CD album is the result, and I am for ever indebted to these wonderful people.

Many years ago, the young people sang the same choruses as the older folk, and then came the division, alas, largely brought about by music. Is it too much that these discs could somehow bridge the gap once more? And even if it is, we present these songs to the following generation, and trust that God will make them as much of a blessing to you as they were to us.

Peter Jackson 

You can find the lyrics and track listing for "These We Have Loved" by clicking here.

For other items that Peter has produced, click here.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Hooker/Wakefield/Moody Complaint - "The Hammer Falls!"


By Kent Heckenlively, JD

Dr. Brian Hooker, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, and attorney James Moody announced today they have  sent a complaint  by Federal Express to Dr. Harold Jaffe, Associate Director for Science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Dr. Don Wright, Acting Director of the Office of Research Integrity at the Department of Health and Human Services, claiming research misconduct in the 2004 paper, "Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta," which was subsequently published in the journal, Pediatrics.

The allegations are horrifying, not just for the millions of families who deal with autism on a daily basis, but for the picture it paints of a government agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), devoid of any shred of scientific integrity or what we once used to call "honor" in this country.

If these claims are shown to be true, we will be looking at nothing less than the greatest crime committed in the history of our republic, and a dark page in science which will be remembered for centuries to come.

In 2001, a group at the CDC, headed by Dr. Frank DeStefano, and including Dr. William Thompson, Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, Dr. Tanya Karapurkar Bhasin, and Dr. Coleen Boyle planned to test the hypothesis that the earlier administration of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) shot was linked to an increase in autism rates.  This research was prompted by the work of Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues, suggesting a link between autism and MMR shots, and his call for additional research to answer the question.  The CDC scientists came up with that plan and recorded it in a document dated September 5, 2001, but did not follow it because of troubling findings among certain groups.

When scientists set out to test a hypothesis they come up with a research plan.  That plan is supposed to be followed, and if for some reason it is not, there must be an explanation of why not.  It is one of the basic tenets in science.  You show EVERYTHING.  You do not CONCEAL DATA.  If there is a hell for scientists, this is the sin which sends you to the very lowest regions.

In the eighteenth century, the attorney William Murray, in a case which sought to outlaw slavery in England stated it succintly, "Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall."  With apologies to William Murray, a research plan in science should come with a similar warning, "Let science be done, though the heavens may fall" (or public health and pharmaceutical company profits be thrown into chaos.)

Two specific groups were the subject of this concealment: African-American males, and a group the CDC termed "isolated autism" (children with no co-morbid developmental disorder such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, hearing or vision problems, epilepsy, or birth defect) or what the rest of the honest world would generally call "normally developing children."

For the African-American males, this was the increased risk of autism by earlier administration of the MMR vaccine:

-- MMR vaccination after 36 months - 1.0 risk of autism. (The rate of autism at that time.)

-- MMR vaccination prior to 36 months - 3.36 fold increase in the risk of autism.

For the "isolated autism" group (normally developing children), this was the increased risk of autism by earlier administration of the MMR vaccine:

MMR vaccination after 36 months - 1.00 risk of autism.                                                    
MMR vaccination prior to 36 months - 3.86 fold increase in the risk of autism.

In the data it was shown that the children at greatest risk in both subgroups were those children vaccinated by 18 months, demonstrating a clear trend that the earlier the MMR vaccination, the higher the risk of autism.  The withholding of this information also impacted those seeking compensation for their vaccine-injured children in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, or what the rest of the world would call "obstruction of justice."  It's like a prosecutor failing to turn over a key piece of evidence which exonerates a murder suspect, then saying nothing when the defendant goes to the electric chair.  But in this case, the alleged wrong wasn't against just one individual, but an entire generation of children and their families.

If these allegations are proven true, we will be looking at scientific misconduct of the very highest order.  It is difficult to come up with words to describe such behavior.  How can scientists committed to "public health" be so comfortable with concealing such important data?  It seems we will need to come up with a new word to describe such conduct.  Even tyrants and dictators who kill and main millions claim to commit their heinous acts in the name of their people, their clan, an ideology, or their family.  What we have here is a willingness to betray the entire human race.

Perhaps the words of the conspirators themselves are what we should place on their tombstones, or the historical account of them which will be left for future generations to read, and to consider when their courage falters in the face of troubling findings.  The statement of Dr. William Thompson on the concealment of data about the effect on African-American males might be one that we include:

I regret that my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics.  The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism.  Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.

Maybe we don't need to invent new words.  Those who read such accounts in the future will know exactly how much these scientists were committed to the "public health."

Please help award-winning Autism Media Channel make this story into a documentary.

You can read the entire complaint and accompanying documents HERE



Thursday, 30 October 2014

Study finds brain abnormalities in chronic fatigue patients

This study looks at CFS rather than ME, but I thought it would still be of interest.  It has also been picked up by the Daily Mail -

Is this proof chronic fatigue DOES exist? Scientists find three differences in the brain that suggest condition may not just be 'in the mind'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2813823/Is-proof-chronic-fatigue-DOES-exist-Scientists-three-differences-brain-suggest-condition-not-just-mind.html


Study finds brain abnormalities in chronic fatigue patients

http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2014/10/study-finds-brain-abnormalities-in-chronic-fatigue-patients.html

Radiology researchers have discovered that the brains of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have diminished white matter and white matter abnormalities in the right hemisphere.

An imaging study by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators has found distinct differences between the brains of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and those of healthy people.

The findings could lead to more definitive diagnoses of the syndrome and may also point to an underlying mechanism in the disease process.

It’s not uncommon for CFS patients to face several mischaracterizations of their condition, or even suspicions of hypochondria, before receiving a diagnosis of CFS. The abnormalities identified in the study, published Oct. 29 in Radiology, may help to resolve those ambiguities, said lead author Michael Zeineh, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology.

“Using a trio of sophisticated imaging methodologies, we found that CFS patients’ brains diverge from those of healthy subjects in at least three distinct ways,” Zeineh said.

CFS affects between 1 million and 4 million individuals in the United States and millions more worldwide. Coming up with a more precise number of cases is tough because it’s difficult to actually diagnose the disease. While all CFS patients share a common symptom — crushing, unremitting fatigue that persists for six months or longer — the additional symptoms can vary from one patient to the next, and they often overlap with those of other conditions.

Scientific challenge

“CFS is one of the greatest scientific and medical challenges of our time,” said the study’s senior author, Jose Montoya, MD, professor of infectious diseases and geographic medicine. “Its symptoms often include not only overwhelming fatigue but also joint and muscle pain, incapacitating headaches, food intolerance, sore throat, enlargement of the lymph nodes, gastrointestinal problems, abnormal blood-pressure and heart-rate events, and hypersensitivity to light, noise or other sensations.”

The combination of symptoms can devastate a patient’s life for 10, 20 or even 30 years, said Montoya, who has been following 200 CFS patients for several years in an effort to identify the syndrome’s underlying mechanisms. He hopes to accelerate the development of more-effective treatments than now exist.

“In addition to potentially providing the CFS-specific diagnostic biomarker we’ve been desperately seeking for decades, these findings hold the promise of identifying the area or areas of the brain where the disease has hijacked the central nervous system,” Montoya said.

“If you don’t understand the disease, you’re throwing darts blindfolded,” said Zeineh. “We asked ourselves whether brain imaging could turn up something concrete that differs between CFS patients’ and healthy people’s brains. And, interestingly, it did.”

The Stanford investigators compared brain images of 15 CFS patients chosen from the group Montoya has been following to those of 14 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers with no history of fatigue or other conditions causing symptoms similar to those of CFS.

Three key findings

The analysis yielded three noteworthy results, the researchers said. First, an MRI showed that overall white-matter content of CFS patients’ brains, compared with that of healthy subjects’ brains, was reduced. The term “white matter” largely denotes the long, cablelike nerve tracts carrying signals among broadly dispersed concentrations of “gray matter.” The latter areas specialize in processing information, and the former in conveying the information from one part of the brain to another.

That finding wasn’t entirely unexpected, Zeineh said. CFS is thought to involve chronic inflammation, quite possibly as a protracted immunological response to an as-yet unspecified viral infection. Inflammation, meanwhile, is known to take a particular toll on white matter.

But a second finding was entirely unexpected. Using an advanced imaging technique — diffusion-tensor imaging, which is especially suited to assessing the integrity of white matter — Zeineh and his colleagues identified a consistent abnormality in a particular part of a nerve tract in the right hemisphere of CFS patients’ brains. This tract, which connects two parts of the brain called the frontal lobe and temporal lobe, is called the right arcuate fasciculus, and in CFS patients it assumed an abnormal appearance.

Furthermore, there was a fairly strong correlation between the degree of abnormality in a CFS patient’s right arcuate fasciculus and the severity of the patient’s condition, as assessed by performance on a standard psychometric test used to evaluate fatigue.

Right vs. left

Although the right arcuate fasciculus’s function is still somewhat mysterious, its counterpart in the brain’s left hemisphere has been extensively explored. The left arcuate fasciculus connects two critical language areas of the left side of the brain termed Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas, which are gray-matter structures several centimeters apart. These two structures are important to understanding and generating speech, respectively. Right-handed people almost always have language organized in this fashion exclusively in the left side of the brain, but the precise side (left or right) and location of speech production and comprehension are not so clear-cut in left-handed people. (It’s sometimes said that every left-hander’s brain is a natural experiment.) So, pooling left- and right-handed people’s brain images can be misleading.  And, sure enough, the finding of an abnormality in the right arcuate fasciculus, pronounced among right-handers, was murky until the two left-handed patients and four left-handed control subjects’ images were exempted from the analysis.

Bolstering these observations was the third finding: a thickening of the gray matter at the two areas of the brain connected by the right arcuate fasciculus in CFS patients, compared with controls. Its correspondence with the observed abnormality in the white matter joining them makes it unlikely that the two were chance findings, Zeineh said.

Although these results were quite robust, he said, they will need to be confirmed. “This study was a start,” he said. “It shows us where to look.” The Stanford scientists are in the planning stages of a substantially larger study.

Additional Stanford co-authors are former medical fellow James Kang, MD, now a neuroradiologist in Hawaii; former professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology Scott Atlas, MD, now a senior fellow at the Stanford-affiliated Hoover Institution; professor of radiology and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences Allan Reiss, MD; lead scientific programmer Mira Raman; physician assistant Jane Norris; and social-science research assistant Ian Valencia.

The study was supported by GE Healthcare and by the CFS Fund, which is housed in the Stanford Department of Medicine’s Division ofInfectious Diseases.

Information about Stanford’s Department of Radiology, which also supported this work, is available at http://radiology.stanford.edu/ .


Monday, 13 October 2014

Harvest

As it is harvest time of year, I thought that it would be nice to post a harvest hymn –

COME, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest-home:
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God’s own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest-home.

All the world is God’s own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear:
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that Day
All offences purge away;
Give His angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come!
Bring Thy final harvest home!
Gather all Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin;
There, for ever purified,
In Thy presence to abide:
Come, with all Thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest-home!

Henry Alford, 1810-1871


And a poem, taken from “Echoes of Eternity” by Michael R Abbott; used with permission

The Year

Flowers appearing from the earth,
Sheep in pastures giving birth,
Birds that sing with joy and mirth,
On a bright spring morning.

People sitting on the sand,
Clutching ice creams in their hand,
Listening to the seaside band,
On a summer’s morning.

Wind dislodging leaves from trees,
Birds migrating, no more bees,
Chill winds blowing round the lees,
On an autumn morning.

Snowflakes falling on the ground,
Floating down without a sound,
Making white of all around,
On a winter’s morning.

Seasons come and pass again:
Wind and sunshine, frost and rain,
Harvests growing for our gain;
All by God provided.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Invest in ME: CONFERENCE EVENTS - London 2015


Today we can announce the dates of our 2015 Biomedical Research Colloquium and international ME Conference.

The Biomedical Research into ME Colloquium 5 (BRMEC5) will now take place over two days from 27th-28th May 2015.

The date for IIMEC10 –The 10th Invest in ME International ME Conference 2015 – will be 29th May 2015.

Both events will be in London.

With support from our colleagues in the European ME Alliance we will build on the international collaboration which has been facilitated by the conferences and colloquiums in recent years and which is the way forward for ME research.

It is encouraging to see our Colloquium gaining in credibility every year.

Last year almost 50 researchers from nine countries attended the BRMEC4 Colloquium.

We will continue try to bring in new researchers from outside the ME field to enhance the knowledge and ideas – something we have been doing from our first researchers meeting four years ago.

A distinct microsite for the conference events will be available shortly. 

Invest in ME (Research) would like to thank our European ME Alliance Sweden colleagues at RME for supporting the conference already with a donation toward the costs of the conference.


International ME Conferences

The Invest in ME International ME Conferences are CPD accredited biomedical conferences which provide a platform for the latest information and biomedical research on myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Invest in ME began the conferences in 2006 and they are now an annual event in May. The conferences attract some of the most renowned speakers from all over the world and are valuable sources of education and information for healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, researchers, ME support groups and people with ME and enable an excellent insight into these areas and the issues currently facing the healthcare and ME patient communities.

The conferences and, later, the Colloquiums have been generating new research and opportunities for years. The charity has now put in place the key building blocks to take ME research into this century with high-quality biomedical research in world class organisations being performed by some of the best researchers.

Our conferences have been facilitating discussions and sharing of information between patients, researchers and clinicians for almost 10 years.


International Biomedical Research into ME Colloquiums

The Invest in ME International Biomedical Research into ME Colloquiums began as a way of bringing together researchers from around the world in a round-table discussion of ME research and ideas. Over the years this has broadened to sharing of experiences, data and plans. We now have a basis for creating a strategy of international biomedical research which will hold far greater promise of creating proper funding and awareness of biomedical research into ME.


Use the link here to see reviews of all of the IiME conferences and colloquiums.