Hot Topics and Readers’ Notes – 05-09-12

Enzyme Shots for Lasting Localized Pain Relief in the Cards?

Injections at acupuncture points of an enzyme dubbed PAP relieved pain caused by inflammation as long as 6 days in animal trials, according to a study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. (See “Shot may top acupuncture for pain relief,” Apr 27, ScienceNews).

The researchers note that the duration of this analgesic effect is 100 times longer than the 1.5 hours of relief typically provided by acupuncture. PAP boosts levels of the anti-inflammatory molecule adenosine at acupuncture points (those are points where nerves contact muscle). The effect of injected adenosine only lasts a few minutes, but PAP’s enzymatic action can continue producing it by breaking down a substance that muscles readily provide called adenosine monophosphate. The study also lends weight to the theory that acupuncture works locally, in addition to or rather than by a release of endorphins, which affect the whole body.


Mental Disorders Diagnostic Guide (DSM): More Harm than Good

Re: “Silence isn’t Golden: Patients Harmed by Diagnosis Find Their Voices”

In this Psychology Today article, published April 28 and linking to more coverage in the Washington Post, Harvard clinical & research psychologist Paula J Caplan, PhD, explains how ME/CFS patients and other victims of misleading ‘psychiatric’ diagnoses have had their lives damaged (not helped) because of ‘unscientificlabels from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, now about to be revised – and widely protested by advocates of people with ‘unexplained’ or ‘invisible’ illnesses.


FDA Stakeholder’s Meeting on ME/CFS Treatment Approval Now Likely

Re: “Call for Action: To all ME/CFS Patients, Loved Ones and Patient Groups”

This campaign, initiated April 23 by Robert Miller and others, called attention to the need to include ME/CFS stakeholders in discussions of FDA plans to accelerate approvals of drugs for chronic illnesses. As of May 2, Robert posted a message stating “Thank you all for acting. My thanks to all who took action with the FDA Stakeholder Meeting e-mail/letter writing. It has met its target… today. I will update you all on a meeting and a date.”


When Fibromyalgia Symptoms are Associated with Low Vitamin D

A section on the Vitamin D Council website (“Fibromyalgia Vitamin D Levels”) reports on several studies that found low levels of vitamin D in fibromyalgia sufferers, and associated that with low bone mineral density, osteopenia (bone pain) and anxiety/depression.


Awareness Day – A Look at What It Has Accomplished

To fully appreciate what May 12 Awareness Day has accomplished for people with ‘invisible’ illnesses since 1992, read ” Why Awareness Day is Important,” by Karen Lee Richards. A co-founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association, and now the HealthCentral ME/CFS & FM Health Guide, Karen can see how far we’ve come, as well as how far we have to go.


Three Daily Fatigue Patterns Identified in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study

Re: “Subtyping daily fatigue progression in chronic fatigue syndrome.” 

This study by ME/CFS researchers Lenny Jason and Molly Brown at DePaul’s Center for Community Research in Chicago asked 90 ME/CFS patients to make detailed logs of their fatigue intensity and any changes, every half hour during the day. Three unique daily patterns emerged, and each of the three patient clusters had a unique physical movement, pain, and immune function profile.  


WPI’s NIH & DOD Grants Support Cutting Edge Gene Sequencing Capability

Re: “Turning the Corner? University Gives WPI Strong Show of Support,” by Cort Johnson

“The Whittemore-Peterson Institute (WPI) has been through a brutal stretch of bad news lately,” Cort Johnson begins, but “don’t count the WPI out.” Researchers at the University of Reno, where WPI resides, indicate they’re excited about their partnership with WPI – especially regarding the “mind boggling” $600,000 gene sequencing machine that WPI’s NIH and DOD grant monies are allowing them to use on loan. This is technology that can sequence an entire human genome “in days if not hours,”  and which WPI may help the University to acquire. Recalling his visit there, Cort observes, “The research side of the WPI sounded like it was humming… back to their original mission – looking for pathogens and immune research.” But “the clinic was very quiet.”


Cartoon Tutorial Easy Way to Learn What Medical Words Mean

The National Library of Medicine offers an easy, interactive “Understanding Medical Words” tutorial to help you understand medical words in materials and explanations you receive from healthcare professionals, and words used in articles you find on the Web. It explains what root words mean, and the meanings of different beginnings and endings, abbreviations, and more. If you don’t have Flash Player to watch the Flash cartoon movie, which includes information followed by interactive quizzes, you can download it free.


iPhone Pain Diary: Statistics on Users’ Pain or Other Health Concerns

For gadget lovers who manage chronic pain – iPhone reports its My Pain Diary app has users tracking over 60 distinct chronic conditions, from migraine to depression (  Allows customized graphing, communication to healthcare providers, receipt of current barometric and other weather-related info, and much more. Based on a survey of users, they find, for example:

42% of users are tracking Back Pain
40% of users are tracking Migraines or Headaches.
38% of users are tracking Fibromyalgia.
59% of users are tracking more than one chronic condition.
15% of users are tracking five or more chronic conditions.


UK Survey Reveals Shocking Public Ignorance Regarding Disability

People with disabilities need to fight ignorance on top of everything else. A poll of more than 2,000 British adults, commissioned for the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s report “Fighting Back” found that “one in five people (21%) think disabled people need to accept they cannot have the same opportunities in life as non-disabled people.”

Another major poll of people with MS found that 42% of them feel others don’t consider them equal, and 30% report they’ve been visibly ignored because of their condition. (See “MS Week report unveils British public’s ignorance about disabled people.”)


One Third of People with Chronic Pain Suffer Anxiety, Mostly Unacknowledged

A CDC study “was conducted by phone with almost 1,800 people, ages 45 and older, who had been doctor-diagnosed with a form of arthritis or related condition, such as lupus or fibromyalgia,” according to a report in Arthritis Today. The CDC found that 31% of the people interviewed currently suffered from anxiety disorder, and 18% were suffering from depression. Many had both; yet half hadn’t sought treatment in the past year. Louise Murphy, PhD, lead author of the study and director of the Arthritis Program in the Division of Population Health at the CDC, says she and colleagues were surprised to find that the rates of anxiety were so high.

Dr. Michael Clark, MD, director of the Pain Treatment Program at Johns Hopkins, said he was not surprised, saying “We’ve known for a long time that psychological disorders of all types are increased in patients with chronic pain disorder,”… “The bugaboo on this is, despite a crushing amount of evidence that these exist in these patient populations, they are still underdiagnosed, poorly treated and misunderstood.”


Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is general and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any illness, condition or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

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