[Note: this article lays out an overarching theory that might tie together a number of leading ME/CFS models and at times conflicting findings. To read the full text of the article free, click here.]
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is one of the more complex illnesses involving multiple systems within the body. Onset of ME/CFS frequently occurs quickly, and many patients report a prior exposure to a viral infection.
This debilitating illness can affect the immune, neuroendocrine, autonomic, and neurologic systems. Abnormal biological findings among some patients have included aberrant ion transport and ion channel activity, cortisol deficiency, sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity, EEG spike waves, left ventricular dysfunction in the heart, low natural killer cell cytotoxicity, and a shift from Th1 to Th2 cytokines.
We propose that the kindling and oxidative stress theories provide a heuristic template for better understanding the at times conflicting findings regarding the etiology and pathophysiology of this illness. [Note: According to kindling theory, repeated or persistent exposure to “subthreshold” stimuli or stressors at some point exceeds the body’s threshold limits, resulting in hypersensitivity and dysfunction.]
Source: Journal of Behavioral and Neuroscience Research, 2009, Vo1. 7, 1-17. Jason LA, Porter N, Herrington J, Sorenson M, Kubow S. Center for Community Research, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA; McGill University, Montreal, Canada. [Email: Ljason@depaul.edu]