Hot Topics & Readers’ Notes – 09-26-12

Next Step in Dr. Mella’s Rituximab Study Recruiting

At Haukeland University Hospital in Norway, Dr. Olav Mella, MD, PhD, is recruiting a small cohort of ‘very severe’ ME/CFS patients for an interventional trial of Rituximab. Information about the trial (“B-cell Depletion Using the Monoclonal Anti-CD20 Antibody Rituximab in Very Severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”) is listed on at


FDA Approves New IBS-C Drug That May Help Many

A drug called linaclotide (aka Linzess) may offer relief from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) for about one-third of patients, according to two studies published by University of Michigan Health System gastroenterologist William D. Chey, et al. in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. These results, reported from Phase III clinical trials, indicate that “linaclotide relieves abdominal pain and increases stool frequency in a safe and effective manner in a large number of tested patients.” The drug received FDA approval on Aug 31 for treatment of IBS involving mainly constipation and for chronic ideopathic constipation (which persists after standard treatment).


Pain and the Morning ‘Mack Truck Club

Most of the words normal people use to describe their aches & pains “are wholly inadequate for those whose lives have been upended by fibromyalgia’s unrelenting arrival,” says Dr. Deborah Barrett, who writes the “Paintracking” blog for Psychology Today. So what’s her take on the situation? Read “Feeling Like You’ve Been Hit by a Mack Truck. Mornings with Fibromyalgia.” 


Low Oxalate Diet Helps Doctor’s Fibro Symptoms

Re: Could a Low Oxalate Diet Reduce the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia? 

This article by UK-based GP Dr. Clare Morrison explains how her experiment with a ‘low-oxalate’ diet helped her fibromyalgia symptoms, and has also helped a number of her patients. She published this article in PULSE – a website for and by GP in the National Health Service that covers clinical developments and primary care news. According to Dr. Morrison, oxalate is especially high in some plant foods such as spinach, and “I would guess that dietary oxalate, normally degraded by bowel flora and expelled harmlessly, can sometimes be absorbed – perhaps due to increased bowel permeability, or a change in bowel flora, and hence reach organs, including muscles, brain, hypothalamus, and urinary system. Oxalate is known to disturb mitochondrial function.”


Harmless Skin Virus May Be Acne Nemesis

Re: Going Viral to Kill Zits

Researchers at UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh may be dealing with the answer to every teen’s prayer. They “looked at two little microbes that share a big name: Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium thriving in our pores that can trigger acne, and P. acnes phages, a family of viruses that live on human skin. The viruses are harmless to humans but are programmed to infect and kill the aforementioned P. acnes bacteria.”

OTC Painkillers Can Be a Pain in the Head

Re: “Painkillers ‘are the cause’ of millions of headaches”

For some people (1% to 5% of us), OTC painkillers taken for headache can cause more headaches, according to the first guidelines for treating headaches from the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE): “Up to a million people in the UK have ‘completely preventable’ severe headaches caused by taking too many painkillers.” People with “everyday” headaches take OTC painkillers, which encourage worse headaches and more pill taking. Or headaches may result when the person is taking painkillers for other reasons. The thought is some people may be somehow genetically susceptible to this response.


Spoonful of Yogurt Makes the Blood Pressure Go Down

In a 15-year tracking study of 2,000 volunteers who started out with normal blood pressure, the people who ate yogurt – beginning with as little as one 6-oz cup of low-fat yogurt every 3 days – were 31% less likely on average to develop high BP than non-yogurt eaters. The study was funded by the NIH’s famous Framingham Heart Study and was reported at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions.


CFIDS Assoc. Finalist for $100K & $300K Grants

The CFIDS Association has developed two proposals (in a field of 3 contenders) for innovative public health projects involving nonprofit and for-profit collaboration – as a part of the Sanofi competition. Sanofi is a major pharmaceutical manufacturer, and is offering a first prize award of $300K and a runner up of $100K, plus access to Sanofi resources in support of the winning plans. Both proposals involve large web-based patient registries. Read details at


NSAIDs Risky for People with Heart Problems

A Johns Hopkins study of 10,000 heart attack patients found that In the first year after the heart attack, 20% of those taking NSAIDs (aspirin being the exception) died, versus about 12% of non-users. And though the risk declined with time, even 5 years later it remained twice as high for NSAID users as for non-users. Their suggestion: If you have heart disease or have had a heart attack and need analgesia, try first acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin.


Restless Legs, Pay Attention to Heart Health

A study following 71,000 women with an average age of 67 and no coronary heart disease at baseline found that there was no added risk of CHD at onset of restless legs syndrome. But at 3 years or more with RLS the risk was 80% greater for nonfatal heart attack and 49% greater for fatal heart attack. 


Win a Week’s Stay at Resort Near Disney Parks

PANDORA is running a raffle for a week for six at a lovely Florida resort/spa near Disney & Universal parks – just $20 per chance. Win your family or group a great vacation at


2nd Ed. of CFS: A Treatment Guide in Kindle & Nook

Erica Verrillo has written a second edition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide. It has just come out as a Kindle  and Nook book. This is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it as a very comprehensive source of information on all aspects of ME/CFS, including very readable discussions of the research, including the early research, as well as explanatory models, symptoms, and the whole range of treatments including alternative as well as pharmaceutical. She includes the methylation protocol, though not the August 25, 2012 revision, and the protocols of Drs. Martin Pall, Lucinda Bateman and Charles Lapp.

Rich Van Konynenburg, PhD

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