Web Seminar by Dr. Kenny De Meirleir, March 1, 2013
Q: Oxygen Therapy: What Are the Pros and Cons?
Administration of oxygen therapy has advantages and disadvantages. Oxygen increases the release of free radicals, which can be harmful. On the other hand oxygen can be very useful for people with severe pain and strong acidification. The oxygen used at home isn’t administered in oxygen cylinders anymore. It comes from a device that transforms the air into almost 100% pure oxygen.
Q: Is the oxygen one gets in the hospital the same as your oxygen therapy?
The oxygen one gets from an oxygenator is the equivalent to the oxygen one gets in a hospital.
Q: What do you expect from rituximab?
I don’t consider this to be a long-term solution, because practically all patients relapse. A new injection is necessary after six to twelve months, which is extremely expensive. The young and healthy B-cells formed after rituximab treatment will function properly in the beginning, but after a while they will again become involved in the disease process. Therefore rituximab isn’t a definitive solution.
Q: Is Ampligen effective? For whom? How does it work?
My experience with Ampligen dates from 1992-2001. We gave Ampligen to approximately 150 people during that time. Ampligen partially works like interferon and combats the viral aspect of the disease. So, those ME patients in whom the viral aspect of the disease is dominant will profit most from it.
Q: Are you familiar with fecal transplants? Is this a useful approach?
We have heard of some patients who have chosen to have a stool transplant. During a transplant, stool from the intestines is removed and replaced by stool from a healthy individual. I believe this can also provide temporary improvement as fewer toxins are released in the body. But, again, it is not a definitive solution, because the problem isn’t so much the intestines as the immunity of the intestines. The abnormal flora will grow again. In addition, a stool transplant isn’t a pleasant experience, and must be repeated regularly. The only indication for this in ME patients is for those who have an overgrowth of C. difficile, which is extremely toxic, but the same would hold true even for people who don’t have ME.
Q: Can you briefly explain heart-rate monitoring and pacing? What do you expect from these?
Several researchers have found that ME patients have irregular heart rhythms. This is due to changes in the sympathetic nervous system, causing inadequate control over heart rhythm. I do think that monitoring can help, but again, this isn’t a treatment of the cause. Pacing helps patients to use less energy. That is, energy is reserved for those things which are essential in order to make it through the day. Pacing is an alternative for people who are chronically ill and who have few treatment options. They must learn to deal with the amount of energy they have left. Pacing should be addressed when the patient has tried all normal treatments.
Q: Doesn’t long-term administration of antibiotics kill the colonic flora?
When one administers broad-spectrum antibiotics for a very long time, then one destroys the colonic flora. But when one is very careful and uses narrow-spectrum antibiotics to treat a specific infection this will not happen. There are numerous examples, as in tuberculosis, in which one administers antibiotics for eighteen months. But treatment involves a narrow-spectrum antibiotic, and therefore the colonic flora aren’t seriously disturbed. In the case of very acute infection one chooses broad-spectrum antibiotics. But when one is going to use long-term antibiotics to combat a very specific intracellular infection one chooses a narrow-spectrum antibiotic that has little effect on the colonic flora.