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Hot Topics & Readers' Notes - 08-01-12

  [ 12 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • July 31, 2012

Comments on Study that "Established ME/CFS as a Physical Condition"

Re: "Mitochondrial dysfunction and the pathophysiology of ME/CFS"

Two readers have provided comments that may add to our understanding of this article, published June 30 by Drs. Norman E Booth, Sarah Myhill and John McLaren-Howard. You may recall that the researchers believe their findings “clearly established ME/CFS as a physical condition with physical causes,” and “gave backing to certain treatment interventions,” with a follow-up paper on interventions to follow soon.


Hunter-Hopkins Launches ME/CFS & FM Chat Room

The Hunter Hopkins Center (hosted by Drs. Charles Lapp & Laura Black) now offers a private chat room for ME/CFS and FM patients ( The chat room was created in part to help people who don't feel comfortable conducting on-the-record discussions of their illness on Facebook, says "M" (Michele Krisko), who set it up. Michele and Katrina Berne are co-Admins.


How Does CDC Toolkit Stack Up vs IACFS/ME Primer?

Which guide is more useful for physicians wishing to understand and helpfully manage ME/CFS: the CDC's Toolkit or the IACFS/ME Primer? Phoenix Rising reporter Cort Johnson has carefully and clearly compared the two, point by point. (See "The Treatment Showdown: CDC Toolkit vs IACFS/ME Primer.") The bottom line? "The simplicity of the CDC’s conception of this illness's treatment is shocking. More brochure than ‘toolkit’ the CDC guide for treating ME/CFS is so sparse that if one removed the name of the disorder from both publications one could easily assume they were focusing on different disorders."


Lyme Bacteria Debris May Trigger Inflammation in Joints

Researchers at Yale have found "bacterial fragments" in the joints of mice that had been treated with antibiotics for Lyme disease, and suggest this debris could be triggering an inflammatory response that might explain the persistent arthritis-like joint pain which often follows treated Lyme infections. See "Spirochete antigens persist near cartilage after murine Lyme borreliosis therapy," Journal of Clinical Investigation, Jul 2, 2012.


Will Esreboxetine Be the 4th FDA-approved Fibro Drug?

A paper published in the July 2012 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism suggests a renewed investment interest by Pfizer in trials of its investigational drug esreboxetine as an FM therapy. Pfizer had discontinued trials of the drug back in the day when it didn't seem to add anything to the benefits of the first three FDA-approved FM drugs. But things have changed, prompting a new look at the drug's potential benefits. See "Another Look at Esreboxetine" for details.


Trial of Ketotifen for FM Recruiting in Indianapolis

Research suggests that the antihistamine & 'mast cell stabilizer' drug ketotifen may help fibromyalgia symptoms. Ketotifen 'stabilizes' mast cells, which release irritating histamine in mucous membranes and connective tissues. For more info on a pilot study of kitotifen in FM patients at Indiana University, see the trial announcement here.


College Gets $1 Million to Study Pain Treatment

The Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) reports it has received a $1 million grant to study the use of genetically-modified stem cells to treat chronic neuropathic pain. The study, beginning with animal trials, will modify stem cells from bone marrow or fat so as to produce painkilling chemicals, and will implant them at the sites of nerve damage.


Dr. Mikovits Talks to

"For the first time, Judy Mikovits tells her story," according to Newsweek/Daily Beast reporter Casey Schwartz's July 23 exclusive. Read the blow-by-blow as told by Judy here ("How Research into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Turned into an Ugly Fight") and see what you think.


Could Cadmium Be a Factor in Some ME/CFS?

The heavy metal cadmium, a potential immunotoxin, is used in batteries, metal plating, and paints & plastics, and can be released into the environment by coal or oil burning, car exhaust, metal processing & other industrial operations. Based on its potential immune effects it has been implicated in ME/CFS, FM, environmental illnesses, thyroid dysfunction & more. Read one researcher's thinking on the role cadmium exposure may play in ME/CFS here.


UK ME/CFS Patient Keeps Benefits after 'Marathon Fight'

“In his appeal evidence, Mr. Johnson [an ME/CFS patient] said his interviewers had failed to demonstrate appropriate knowledge of his illness, to fully record how it affects him in his day-to-day activities, and to take into account whether he could 'reliably and repeatedly perform the assessed activities.'" See the full story of this company founder who was judged "fit to work" despite disability, in the Yorkshire Evening Post ("Leeds man wins marathon fight to keep benefits").


Current Mercury Levels in Canned Tuna

According to, "Given the average level of mercury pollution found in canned tuna, researchers suggest that your average 9-year-old would exceed the EPA limit even if they only ate a can of tuna every 6 weeks!" They conclude: “These results indicate that stricter regulation of the canned tuna industry is necessary to ensure the safety of sensitive populations such as pregnant women, infants, and children.” See video reporting on a survey of three major brands sold in the US (Which Brand of Tuna Has the Most Mercury?"). 


NIH Recruits for MS Rituximab Trial

Thanks to the Whittemore-Peterson Facebook page for posting a link to information on a trial of Rituximab for patients with secondary-progressive MS. According to the Trial Alert at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society site, "In people with earlier, active disease, this drug can stop inflammation in the brain. However, intravenous rituximab did not help people with primary-progressive MS, possibly because the drug could not get through the intact blood-brain barrier. (In People with secondary-progressive MS who do not have 'active' disease, the blood-brain barrier is intact.) In this new trial, to ensure that the rituximab will reach the brain and spinal cord in people with secondary-progressive MS, participants will receive it intravenously and by injection through a lumbar puncture into the cerebrospinal fluid ('spinal tap')."

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