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ME/CFS brain volume anomalies consistent with impaired memory, subtle vision & movement processing changes

  [ 25 votes ]   [ 6 Comments ] • December 1, 2011

Regional grey and white matter volumetric changes in myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome): A voxel-based morphometry 3-T MRI study
- Source: British Journal of Radiology, Nov 29, 2011

By Basant K Puri, et al.

[Note: With regard to the suggestion of subtle visual abnormalties, see “UK Study of Visual Function in ME/CFS Announced,” posted Nov 28, 2011.]

Objective: It is not established whether myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is associated with structural brain changes. The aim of this study was to investigate this by conducting the largest voxel-based morphometry study to date in CFS.

Methods: High-resolution structural 3-T cerebral MRI scanning was carried out in 26 CFS patients and 26 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Voxel-wise generalized linear modeling was applied to the processed MR data using permutation-based non-parametric testing, forming clusters at t > 2.3 and testing clusters for significance at p < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons across space.

Significant voxels (p < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons) depicting reduced grey matter volume in the CFS group were noted in the occipital lobes (right and left occipital poles; left lateral occipital cortex, superior division; and left supracalcrine cortex), the right angular gyrus and the posterior division of the left parahippocampal gyrus.

Significant voxels (p < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons) depicting reduced white matter volume in the CFS group were also noted in the left occipital lobe.

These data support the hypothesis that:

• Significant neuroanatomical changes occur in CFS,

• And are consistent with the complaint of impaired memory that is common in this illness.

They also suggest that subtle abnormalities in visual processing, and discrepancies between intended actions and consequent movements, may occur in CFS.

Source: British Journal of Radiology, Nov 29, 2011. DOI:10.1259/bjr/93889091, by Puri BK, Jakeman PM, Agour M, Gunatilake KDR, Fernando KAC, Gurusinghe AI, Treasaden IH, Waldman AD, Gishen P. Department of Imaging, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK;  Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland; University of Hertfordshire, and Care Principles, Rose Lodge, Langley, West Midlands, UK; The Ridge Hill Centre, Dudley, UK; Brooklands Hospital, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK; Broadmoor Hospital, Berkshire, UK; Three Bridges Unit, WLMHT, Middlesex, UK; National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, UK.

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Article Comments Post a Comment

ME/CFS & fibro & red blood cells
Posted by: lochner
Dec 2, 2011

I have posted this before but it doesn't seem to register.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis IS NOT Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Dr. Leslie Simpson, Doctor of
Biology, New Zealand, has written about M.E. in his book
"Blood Viscosity Factors, sub The Missing Dimension in Modern Medicine.

M.E. has specific blood conditions that CFS does not have. These two conditions are
high fibrin and malformed red blood cells. This book is documented to hell and back.

If one has been diagnosed with CFS it would behove that one to have their fibrin
level and red blood cells checked out. Otherwise you don't have any idea what you have.

Center for Disease control through M.E. under the bus in 1988 when it changed its name
to CFS. A whole generation of doctors are ignorant of M.E. in addition to all the other
things they are ignorant of.

Dr. Simpson made many trips to U.S. to share this information but only two or three
doctors would show up for his presentation. They figured if it wasn't covered in
medical school then it didn't matter. And blood science is not taught in medical school.
Reply Reply

Nope, there are no tests for ME or CFS
Posted by: jimcpn
Dec 2, 2011
The comment that ME diagnosis includes physical tests for fibrin is incorrect. Neither chronic fatigue syndrome nor ME have any have any test that discriminate the conditions. See for example
The importance of this particular study is that it shows discrete physical changes , measurable changes in brain for the condition. This not only shows that there is definite neurological involvement in this condition, but also demonstrates that this is not a psychological condition. This kind of research is sorely needed precisely because there have been no clear physical markers for this illness.
Reply Reply

ME vs. CFS
Posted by: emmanuelle
Dec 2, 2011
I have already had numerous blood tests over the years and still "don't know what I have". 30+ years of having to do my own "research" and treatment because doctors had no clue ... and being told that it was all in my head or it was the flu and I would get better in a few days ... and being told that CFS didn't even exist ... and "have you tried exercising?"
And the CDC named it CFS because they didn't really care and they still don't. (They didn't "change the name" from ME.) It's the patients who were thrown under the bus ... Most people seem to accept that ME and CFS are different names for the same illness as they have the same basic symptoms. My understanding is that ME is the name used in the U.K. and Canada ... But there seem to be a few people, for some reason, who are adamant that there are two separate illnesses-- and they seem to be those who have been officially diagnosed with ME ... like they don't want to be lumped in with those lazy, crazy CFS people ... at least that the way it feels.
Anyway, thanks for presenting this research! It indeed feels validating for those of us who are tired of being told "We can't find anything wrong with you" ...
Reply Reply

I'm Not Buying It
Posted by: Mikie
Dec 3, 2011
There are too many symptom overlaps in people with CFIDS, ME and GWI. In addition, there appear to be subsets of patients within the CFIDS label. There has been no comprehensive research into these illnsses. This one study may have shown the results reported but it's simply not enough to make any sweeping scientific statements regarding any of these illnesses.

My illnesses were triggered full blown by a mycoplasma infection, one of the main components of GWI. I lived next to a military facility where soldiers were given vaccinations prior to being deployed to the first Gulf War. I likely was infected by a soldier with an active infection out in the holiday shopping crowds.

Chronic infections have been shown to coincide with excess fibrin in the blood. The same is true of the size and shape of red blood cells. The findings in this study likely have more to do with chronic infections than with CFIDS vs. ME. Still, it is a compelling study and it would seem that further research would be beneficial.

Over the 21 years since I was infected with the mycoplasmas, I've heard of one study/theory after another which claims to explain our illneses or their symptoms. Still, we are no closer to answers than we were then. There is a lot of research going on and I hope that together, these studies will yield some answers and not just more questions.

Love, Mikie


ME vs CFS re: Emmanuelle
Posted by:
Dec 7, 2011
I couldn't agree with your comments more. It was my understanding too that ME was England and Canada's term for the CDC's lame term of CFS. Doctors don't want to hear about it, disability retirements don't want to deal with it because it's considered a lazy person's ailment, disorder, or whatever they want to call it. I have many other conditions in addition to CFS so it really angers me that there is such nit-picking over terms and why can't they get more doctors to understand the toll CFS really takes on a person. We may have 3 good days in a row and be in bed for the next 3 days or two weeks from exhaustion. I really don't get it either. Why don't they teach about fibromyalgia, ME, and CFS in medical school and what would it take to get all doctors required to attend seminars on the condition and actually listen to what is being said and not just sit there because they had to go? I think if it isn't a heart problem, thyroid problem, vitamin deficiency, etc., that the majority of doctors could care less to hear about it. At least I have the luck of having a physician who is receptive to listening and seems to have been doing some research. Best of luck to you in your future and all of us living with ME/CFS or whatever they wish to call it. We need help now.


jimcpn post is incorrect re testing
Posted by: lochner
Dec 7, 2011

Your average medico doesn't test to determine whether it's CFS or M.E. because he/she thinks
they are both the same. That also explains why a test hasn't been developed for mainstream
use. However, the test is well within reach.

Society for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Google it) states that high fibrin & malformed red blood
cells are specific to M.E.

Hemex Lab in Phoenix tests for fibrin. My fibrin level was 1200 when high normal range is about 300. The test for red blood cell variation in size & shape is id'd as RDW. Any doctor should be able to order this test. My test was high, out of range.

Based on tests done by Dr. Leslie Simpson, Dr. of Biology, New Zealand, the red blood test should be done twice. Here's why. The first test will show red blood cells at rest. After the slightest physical/mental exertion, your red blood cells go berserk and will test much higher if you have M.E. Dr. Simpson could separate CFS-ers from M.E.-ers by testing everyone first.
Then he had them all pull a trigger for a couple of minutes. This small exertion elevated the
malformed red blood cells in the people with M.E. It had no effect on people with CFS.

Dr. Leslie Simpson is the author of the book Blood Viscosity Factors, sub The Missing Dimension in Modern Medicine. He is an expert in red blood cell behavior.

If you have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you really need to learn the condition of your blood. If you actually have M.E. you can then address the condition of
your blood. I have chosen to do months phlebotomies and take Bolouke, a natural product
that dissolves fibrin.

Barbara Lochner
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