Thursday, October 8, 2009

XMRV retrovirus linked to ME/CFIDS

A new study links the XMRV retrovirus to "CFS." Could this be the cause?

A comprehensive study by a consortium including the Whittemore Peterson Institute, the NIH's National Cancer Institute, and The Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation was announced today. This study demonstrates a strong association between a mouse leukemia virus, XMRV, and "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," better known as ME/CFIDS.

Since the NIH is involved (through their cancer research arm), a lot of people who normally dismiss the illness as a somatisation disorder (i.e. just another hysterical psychological trip) are taking the findings seriously.

Even CFS arch-villian William Reeves, the enemy of everyone who suffers from this illness, claims he's already got his little elves at the CDC working on replicating the study. Of course, based on past history, more likely they are industriously trying to not replicate it.

Update: Read these commentaries on this landmark announcement:
  • Peggy's Blog - Powerful and moving essay by Peggy Munson about ME/XMRV, her personal experiences with the disease, and a broad look at the big picture. A must read if you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with ME, "CFIDS," "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," Fibromyalgia, or MCS.
  • Blog: Osler's Web - Hillary Johnson's triumphant declaration of victory over the dark forces in the US government's "health" agencies, the CDC and NIH, whose criminal actions prolonged the suffering of millions of victims of this terrible disease and resulted in countless unnecessary deaths.
News articles about the announcement:
  • The Independent: Has Science Found the Cause of ME? - "...the senior author of the study, Judy Mikovits ... said further blood tests have revealed that more than 95 per cent of patients with the syndrome have antibodies to the virus – indicating they have been infected with XMRV... 'With those numbers, I would say, yes we've found the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome.'"
  • Dance with Shadows: XMRV Virus Linked to Chronic Fatigue, Says Study - "'Just like you cannot have AIDS without HIV, I believe you won’t be able to find a case of chronic-fatigue syndrome without XMRV,' ... Dr Mikovits said."
  • Nature Magazine: Virus Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - "'I can't wait to be able to tell my patients,' says Mikovits... 'It's going to knock their socks off. They've had such a stigma. People have just assumed they were just complainers who didn't handle stress well.'" Nature Magazine rarely reports on CFIDS, so this study must have really impressed them.
  • Reuters: Study Isolates Virus in Chronic Fatigue Sufferers - "'You can imagine a number of combination therapies that could be quite effective and could at least be used in clinical trials right away,' Mikovits said in a telephone interview."
  • NY Times: Virus Is Found in Many With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - "'I think this establishes what had always been considered a psychiatric disease as an infectious disease,' said Dr. Mikovits. ... [She] said she and her colleagues were drawing up plans to test antiretroviral drugs — some of the same ones used to treat HIV infection — to see whether they could help patients with chronic fatigue."
  • Suite New XMRV Study Not the First to Find a Retroviral Link - "The study group of Elaine DeFreitas reported a link between CFS/ME and retroviruses back in 1991." and "Immunovirologist Michael Holmes described retroviral activity in cells of CFS/ME patients as early as 1986." Hillary Johnson documents the CDC's vicious attack on DeFrietas, which eventually forced her to leave the field.
Peggy Munson notes: Please ignore the news idiots who use the term "chronic fatigue" instead of ME/CFIDS. Idiopathic chronic fatigue affects some 25 percent of the population and does not resemble ME/CFIDS at all. Hopefully the new research will help the media understand that that is like calling AIDS "chronic weight loss." The preferred term for patients is still ME, or myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Sadly, it's not just the news idiots. I've seen dozens of health care providers - from MD's to naturopaths to acupuncturists to energy healers - in the fifteen years since I was diagnosed with "CFS," and I can't think of a single one that didn't use the term "chronic fatigue" when referring to my disease.

Peggy's Blog has links to many more articles.

Official information:
To put this announcement in perspective, please read Hillary Johnson's speech "The Why" and then ponder on how much sooner this discovery might have been made - and the waste of innumerable years and countless lives avoided - had the people at the US Government's official agency responsible for investigating this disease actually done their jobs instead of undermining research and aggressively attempting to discredit the victims of the illness and people who believed them.

You might also want to review the discussion of Dr. Lerner's research into viral treatments of this illness in the July 21 entry of this blog.

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