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Tips and Techniques for Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Polio Vaccine Connection

  [ 228 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • June 24, 2002

By Dr. Richard L. Bruno

Have you heard of a Dr. William Campbell Douglas and his contention that polio "may be with us again in a disguised form" and that the oral polio vaccine is causing Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Could this be true?

I have read Dr. Douglas' writings. He also says polio is "more common than ever." But I don't think he means that the three polioviruses are more common than ever, are "with us again in a disguised form" or that the oral polio vaccine is causing PPS and chronic fatigue syndrome. That is not to say that Dr. Douglas isn't on the right track about "polio" being with us again and that the oral polio vaccine is indirectly "causing" PPS and chronic fatigue syndrome. This is because something unexpected, frightening and totally unrecognized happened after the polio vaccine was distributed: The number of cases of CFS/ME went through the roof.

British infectious disease specialist Elizabeth Dowsett plotted the cases of CFS/ME she and CFS/ME pioneer Melvin Ramsay had seen in their practice since 1919 against reported cases of polio in England. When the Salk and then Sabin vaccines brought the yearly number of British polio cases below 25 in the early 1960s, the number of CFS/ME patients took off. In Ramsay's and Dowsett's practice alone, between 1960 and 1980 the number of CFS/ME patients increased by fifty times.

Between 1980 and 1990, the number of patients with CFS/ME increased yet again by a factor of fifty! Throughout the world 32 CFS/ME outbreaks were recorded after the polio vaccine was distributed. So something other than the poliovirus was causing CFS/ME.

What is that something? It appears that the vaccine that eliminated polio had an unintended consequence. The elimination of the three types of poliovirus left a vacuum that had to be filled. Just as a flock of dominant and aggressive blue jays blocks less aggressive robins from roosting in your back yard, poliovirus are the blue jays of enteroviruses, the viruses that live and grow in your intestines. When poliovirus "blue jays" disappeared from your intestines thanks to the vaccine, other enteroviruses "robins" took over the poliovirus' old intestinal breeding ground and filled the vacuum. With the polioviruses gone other enteroviruses were able to multiply, spill into the bloodstream and enter the spinal cord and brain.

In 1990 Dr. Dowsett looked for antibodies to non-polio enterovirus in her CFS/ME patients. Fifty percent had antibodies to the first non-polio enterovirus ever discovered -- the Coxsackie B virus -- named after Coxsackie, New York, the town where it was found to have paralyzed children in 1948. Yes, paralyzed. It is not just the polioviruses that enter and kill neurons in the spinal cord and brain stem. Neuron damage, weakness, paralysis and symptoms of brain fatigue caused by non-polio enteroviruses can be so similar as to be indistinguishable from the actions of polioviruses.

One Coxsackie virus, named A7, produces paralytic symptoms so similar to polio that it has been named poliovirus "Type IV." Other enteroviruses that
cause damage and symptoms similar to the polioviruses include all the other Coxsackie viruses, the ECHO viruses (which in 1956 were the first viruses
associated with a CFS/ME outbreak) and the recently discovered Enteroviruses 71. One piece of evidence directly links an enterovirus to CFS/ME and  damage to the neurons that activate the brain. Sadly, the evidence comes from a CFS/ME patient who took her own life. Traces of Coxsackie B virus -- the
same virus for which Dowsett found antibodies in her CFS/ME patients -- was found in both the hypothalamus and brain stem, the very heart of the brain
activating system which our and others' research has found is damage in polio survivors with fatigue and in patients with CFS/ME.

So the "disguised form" that polio may be talking is not a disguise at all but replacement by another enterovirus. And the oral polio vaccine is "causing" chronic fatigue syndrome by making way for other enterovirus to grow in the intestines and be able to do damage like that done by the poliovirus, except that the damage is most frequently found in brain activating system neurons and causes fatigue, not in the spinal cord causing paralysis.

Dr. Richard Bruno is Director of Fatigue Management Programs and The Post-Polio Institute at Englewood (NJ) Hospital and Medical Center. His new

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