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.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Massive vaccine cover-up confirmed: Secret documents prove vaccines cause autism


(NaturalNews) The ongoing debate over whether or not vaccines cause autism would probably take on an entirely different tone if key information that has been mostly censored from the public was fully brought to light. Hidden documents that have been locked away for more than two decades reveal that the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella does cause autism, and regulators, drug executives and various others have known about this for a long time.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in the UK has forced the Department of Health to release confidential documents outlining the details of MMR's initial approval back in the 1980s. These documents reveal that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine Pluserix, knew that there were problems with the vaccine causing a high rate of adverse events in children. Among these were encephalitis and other conditions associated with autism.

Concerned that the British government was withholding information about MMR's dangers from the public, the FOIA request was filed in response to the growing number of vaccinated children who were coming down with debilitating gut problems, brain damage and other symptoms believed to be associated with MMR. As it turns out, these suspicions are now validated.

"We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease," admitted Tina Cheatham, Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in an email to CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson. "Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures."

CDC, Pediatrics, US government and Merck all admit MMR vaccine causes autism

This admission is huge, as encephalopathy following vaccination is a known trigger of autistic symptoms, and something that the confidential documents from the UK also admit. GSK, the British government and various other players all kept this information under wraps, even after brave souls like Dr. Andrew Wakefield came forward publicly with data linking the MMR vaccine to autism-related health outcomes. 

Reading between the lines, health authorities have, in fact, linked MMR to autism -- but they won't come right out and say it. Rubella, for instance, the German measles component of MMR, has been known to be a cause of autism since the 1960s. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has admitted this publicly, as has the National Immunization Program (now the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases). Even Merck & Co. a major manufacturer of MMR vaccines, has admitted that vaccines in general can cause autism.

"[R]ubella (congenital rubella syndrome) is one of the few proven causes of autism," stated Walter A. Orenstein, M.D., former Assistant Surgeon General and Director of the National Immunization Program, in a 2002 letter to the UK's Chief Medical Officer.

"[R]ubella virus is one of the few known causes of autism," explained the CDC on its "FAQs (frequently asked questions) about MMR Vaccine & Autism" page, which has since been removed from public view. It is still available in some web archives.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., the current President of Merck's Vaccines Division, is also on record as admitting that people with a predisposition to mitochondrial dysfunction can develop autism following vaccination. A minimum of 20 percent of vaccine-induced autism cases are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.

"Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids," stated Dr. Gerberding back in 2008 during a segment on House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta titled "Unraveling the Mystery of Autism."

"So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you're predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism."

For more, visit:

Secret British MMR Vaccine Files Forced Open By Legal Action