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Neurotoxin Discovered in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  [ 531 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • November 20, 2002

News Release [from an association for CFS], Needham, Massachusetts

Needham, MA November 17, 2002 -- Research sponsored by [an association for CFS] was formally announced at the International Symposium
on Toxins and Natural Products in Okinawa, Japan on November 17-19,
2002 by Dr. Yoshitsugi Hokama. The research, for the first time,
discovered ciguatoxin, a potent neurotoxin, in the blood of Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome patients.

"Chronic ciguatera poisoning has already been suggested as a
scientific model for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)," stated Dr.
Hokama. Ciguatoxins are potent, heat stabile, non-protein, lipophilic
sodium channel activator toxins and are recognized as some of the most
potent biological toxins known. They produce dramatic neurological
manifestations, such as peripheral sensory or motor symptoms (including paresthesias, pain, burning, tingling, numbness), central symptoms such as headache, autonomic dysfunction and also affect multiple body systems (gastrointestinal, immune, hepatic, cardiovascular) and the muscles.

Many CFS patients in the study had higher levels of the toxin than the
patients with cancer, hepatitis or acute ciguatera poisoning.

Quantitative assay results range from 1:5, the lowest toxin level, to
1:160, the highest toxin level. All CFS samples gave titres of at
least 1:20, with the majority of titres from 1:40 to 1:160.

Dr. Hokama presented his preliminary findings in a lecture titled
"Acute phase lipids in sera of various diseases: Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, ciguatera, hepatitis, and various cancer with antigentic
Epitope resembling ciguatoxin as determined with Mab-CTX."

Dr. Hokama is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at the John
A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He
is a world expert in the area of fish toxins with hundreds of peer
reviewed publications to his credit. Hokama developed the Membrane
Immunobead Assay test for patient sera, using a specific monoclonal
antibody for ciguatera toxin (Mab-CTX). His current research into
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a ciguatera toxin connection was funded
by [an association for CFS's] research grant program.

Gail Kansky, President of [an association for CFS], said, "We
believe this to be a significant breakthrough. CFS, which has come to
include myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a very severe illness that has
not received adequate funding or appropriate medical attention. Although there are still many unanswered questions and much work to be done, research efforts will ultimately turn the tide in the understanding of this disease and allow patients to receive appropriate medical therapies. We are indebted to Dr. Hokama and his colleagues

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