Hot Topics & Readers’ Notes – 11-28-12

Survey Needs Input of People with Chemical Sensitivities

Environmental health researcher Pamela Reed Gibson, PhD, is running a survey to develop information on how well the medical needs of people with chemical sensitivities are being met. Dr. Gibson, author of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide, leads an MCS research team at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

To read about the project and take the brief survey, go to Our thanks for this info to ME/CFS Australia (SA).


No Increased Risk from Rituximab Long Term

Re: 9.5-year Follow-up on Effects of Rituximab in RA Patients

Rituxan, the drug researchers hope will prove helpful for and perhaps even cure some ME/CFS patients, has now been used for extended periods as a therapy to contain immune B-cell damage in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. While the drug elevates risk of infection and malignancy somewhat, this report found no evidence of increased safety risk or adverse effects over time, as many had feared.


Could Alzheimer’s Be the Work of Herpes?

Re: Could Alzheimer’s Be as Simple as Herpes Simplex?

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University are actively pursuing the theory that the herpes simplex virus may spread neuronal damage in the Alheimer’s patient’s brain much as reactivating herpes viruses travel via nerve pathways – as in the case of shingles when the chicken pox virus reactivates. Their work builds on a body of research such as that which led another university team to report in PLoS One, “It’s no longer a matter of determining whether HSV1 is involved in cognitive decline, but rather how significant this involvement is. We’ll need to investigate anti-viral drugs used for acute herpes treatment to determine their ability to slow or prevent cognitive decline.” 


How Fibro Affects the Family: Survey Results Published

Last spring, ProHealth invited fibromyalgia patients to participate in a survey on how their illness has affected their family and other relationships. The results of the survey – by pain specialist Dr. Dawn Marcus and ProHealth’s own FM editor Karen Lee Richards – has been published by the journal Musculoskeletal Care. The abstract of the report makes it clear that “Fibromyalgia Can Have a Substantial Negative Impact on Relationships with Family and Friends,” but to share Karen’s personal analysis of the survey findings and participants’ stories, watch for the December 12 FM HealthWatch newsletter. 


How Flu Shots Affect ME/CFS Patients

Re: Effects of Influenza Vaccination on Immune Function in Patients with CFS/ME

Australian ME/CFS researchers studying flu vaccine’s impact on immune function in well characterized ME/CFS patients found that the vaccine does seem to provide immunity, but with a degree of immune dysregulation several weeks later that was not found in healthy controls. They conclude, “the benefits of influenza vaccine still likely outweigh the risks.”


Musical Tone Therapy ‘Resets Brain’ to Help Insomnia

According to new research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, insomnia can result when brain wave frequencies in the left and right hemispheres get out of sync owing to an autonomic response to trauma or stress. They devised a system called Brainwave Optimization™ that helped insomniacs with moderate to severe insomnia (18.7-18.9 on a 28-point scale) achieve an average 10.3 point drop, to the category of “no insomnia or sub-threshold insomnia.” The therapy involves listening to a musical tone through ear buds. The tone is carefully calibated by a mathematical algorithm based on the middle range of the participant’s EEG frequencies, and appears to put the two hemispheres’ frequencies back in sync.


Online Audio of Memorial for Rich VanK (an “Expert in Compassion”)

Those who are able to listen online can access a high-quality recording of the Nov 18 telephonic memorial for Dr. Rich Van Konynenburg  HERE. It is rich with the remembrances of ME/CFS/FM, Lyme, MCS, GWI and other patients he coached through trials of his glutathione protocol and other options, and the many colleagues and friends whose lives he enriched over the years. Nearly 100 people attended. It will be available for three months. Pass it on.


When Dietary Mercury Intake Mimics ME/CFS

Re: “ME/CFS-like symptoms from dietary mercury; improved with heavy metal removal med” 

In this case example, the doctors identified chronic methyl mercury toxicity in a man diagnosed with ME/CFS by doing a hair analysis (at a level below the ‘poisoning’ level set by the WHO). They succeeded in relieving the symptoms using a “dietary medication designed to remove heavy metals, and … containing… zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium, and L-cysteine.” They suggest that physicians considering an ME/CFS diagnosis assess mercury concentrations if excessive fish consumption or other environmental exposures are suspected.


Toni Bernhard’s “Confessions” Struck a Chord

Re: “Confessions of a Sick Person”

So many readers commented with delight on Toni Bernhard’s confessions, reproduced from her blog, Turning Straw Into Gold: Illness through a Buddhist Lens. Whether lying on the bedroom floor to eavesdrop on conversations in the living room, to eating in bed and licking the plates, Toni expresses the humour in ‘secrets’ that people living on their bed or couch so often share. “You have no idea how much secret shame that confession [about licking the dishes] has lifted off me,” writes one with a smile. 


Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is general and is not meant to prevent, diagnose treat or cure any disease.

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