Scientists have discovered a potential retroviral link to CFS/ME. Researchers from the
Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the
Cleveland Clinic, report this finding online in the Oct. 8, 2009, issue of Science.
"We now have evidence that a retrovirus named XMRV is frequently present in the blood of
patients with CFS. This discovery could be a major step in the discovery of vital
treatment options for millions of patients," said Judy Mikovits, PhD, director of research
for WPI and leader of the team that discovered this association.
Researchers cautioned, however, that this finding shows there is an association between
XMRV and CFS but does not prove that XMRV causes CFS.
On September 22, 2011, Science published online a
nine-lab study widely seen as the final
blow to the theory, championed by Mikovits and colleagues in an
October 2009 Science paper, that a recently detected
mouse retrovirus might play a causal role in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). A letter in
the same issue of Science from one of the contributing labs to the 2009 report revealed
that a contamination had marred its contribution-PCR detection and sequencing of the mouse
virus, dubbed XMRV. Mikovits and colleagues defended the validity of the rest of the
study, known as Lombardi et al., which detected the virus by several other methods, so
issued a rare partial retraction of the
original paper. Mikovits was fired from Whittemore Peterson Institute on
September 29, 2011.
Researchers are aso looking into the possibility that CFS may be linked to Narcolepsy.
In a recent article entitled,
Sleep Quality and Psychological Adjustment in CFS, their conclusion was:
"Narcolepsy and CFS participants were very similar on psychological adjustment: both
these groups had more psychological maladjustment than did control group participants."
In the book Sleep and Quality of Life in Clinical Medicine, written by Joris C.
Verster, S. R. Pandi-Perumal, David L. Streiner, they say that:
"In a recent study evaluating the nature of CFS...we documented the presence and nature
of sleep disorders in individuals with this diagnosis. Here, in a comparative
investigation of CFS, narcolepsy, and healthy control participants, we found that
approximately 60% of the sample of individuals with CFS had diagnosable primary sleep
disorder such as sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome and that almost everyone with CFS
complained of nonrestorative sleep and/or insomnia characterized by difficulty initiating
or maintaining sleep."
Possible Link to Endometriosis
In 2002, researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NICHD), the George Washington University, and the Endometriosis Association, conducted a
study that was designed to analyze the association between having endometriosis and other
immune system disorders.
They analyzed a survey conducted by the Endometriosis Association, in which 3,680 women
stated they had been surgically diagnosed with endometriosis, to see how many would go on
to be diagnosed with other types of disorders. What they discovered is that women with
this condition were significantly more likely to have other autoimmune disorders.
In fact, they found the women were over one hundred times more likely to develop chronic
fatigue syndrome (CFS), and more than twice as likely to experience fibromyalgia than the
general American female population. In addition, of the more than 20 percent who had more
than one other disease, 31 percent of those had either fibromyalgia or CFS.
Although the researchers were unable to confirm why these conditions appear to be related,
they are now encouraging doctors to consider endometriosis when evaluating their patients
for either CFS or fibromyalgia.
In the journal European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology researchers
examined whether the prevalence of autoimmune, chronic pain and fatigue and atopic
disorders is higher in women with endometriosis than in the general female population.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 1998 by the Endometriosis Association of 3680
USA members with surgically diagnosed endometriosis. Almost all responders had pain (99%),
and many reported infertility (41%). Compared with published rates in the general USA
female population, women with endometriosis had higher rates of:
- hypothyroidism (9.6 versus 1.5%, P < 0.0001)
- fibromyalgia (5.9 versus 3.4%, P < 0.0001)
- chronic fatigue syndrome (4.6 versus 0.03%, P < 0.0001)
- rheumatoid arthritis (1.8 versus 1.2%, P = 0.001)
- systemic lupus erythematosus (0.8 versus 0.04%, P < 0.0001)
- Sjögren's syndrome (0.6 versus 0.03%, P < 0.0001)
- multiple sclerosis (0.5 versus 0.07%, P < 0.0001)
But not hyperthyroidism or diabetes. Allergies and asthma were more common among women
with endometriosis alone (61%, P < 0.001 and 12%, P < 0.001 respectively) and highest in
those with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome (88%, P < 0.001 and 25%, P < 0.001
respectively) than in the USA female population (18%, P < 0.001 and 5%, P < 0.001
They concluded that hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune
diseases, allergies and asthma are all significantly more common in women with
endometriosis than in women in the general USA population.
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