Hot Topics & Readers’ Notes – 12-19-12

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Need Help? Start With United Way 2-1-1

You can locate sources of help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling, youth services, family services, senior services and more via United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline. Visit the national 2-1-1 site ( to get free, confidential, bilingual, 24-hour access to information about finding help in your area. Type in your ZIP code, city or state to pull up local information. But also, anyone in the US can just call 2-1-1 using either a land line or cell phone.


Clarissa Shepherd’s Inspirations

Several times in 2012, ProHealth has had the pleasure of sharing the inspirations of Clarissa Shepherd, founder of the uplifting Fellow Travelers FMS, ME/CFS and MCS support & chat Facebook group – just 2 years old, but with a caring & sharing membership of more than 1,400.

Clarissa’s “Tribute to Courage,” written to honor fellow patients on Awareness Day 2012, can be our inspiration for 2013.


A Generation in Jeopardy – Pesticides & Our Children’s Health

Dr. Sarah Myhill, MD, a UK-based fatigue specialist with a particular interest in treating the effects of environmental toxins, provided a link to this report in one of her recent news updates: A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence, published by the Pesticide Action Network North America.


Now – Subcutaneous Rituximab Administration

Re: Trial of 5-Minute Subcutaneous Rituximab Injection: Positive Results

A new 5-minute injection promises to safely reduce the cost and time involved in administration of rituximab. This drug, now employed intravenously to control overactive or dysfunctional immune B cells in lymphoma patients and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, has shown promise for at least a subset of ME/CFS patients as well.


Microwave Ovens – Safe…or Not?

Re: “Cooking in The Microwave Oven: Is It Safe?”

Who hasn’t wondered if they might be affected by ‘leaking’ radiation from their microwave oven? This “quick physics lesson” from Dana Myatt, NMD, may help. “Let’s look at what is really known about the microwave oven, both pro and con, so you make an informed decision about its use instead of giving in to fear stories you may not really understand,” she begins.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techiques That Work

People with ME/CFS sometimes cringe at the mention of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) because some UK-based psychologists’ are convinced that their thought patterns, not a medical condition, cause their symptoms. Nevertheless, CBT can be a great self-help tool for those coping with life challenges, and there are many techniques to choose from, says Psychology Today psychology blogger Alice Boyes, PhD. She describes ‘pleasant activity scheduling’ and a few others in her blog “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques That Work.”


Will the CDC Get the ME/CFS Case Definition Right At Last?

Re: CDC Announces 7-Clinic Study to Characterize ME/CFS and Its Subsets”

This new CDC-sponsored study will consider the definition of ME/CFS & any subsets, based on observation of a cohort of 450 patients to be recruited by seven experienced US specialists who are highly respected by the patient community.


Fibromyalgia’s Impact on the Family

Re: Fibromyalgia’s Impact on Personal Relationships,” by Karen Lee Richards

ProHealth Fibromyalgia editor Karen Lee Richards and pain specialist Dawn Marcus, MD, ran on online survey recently asking FM patients and their families to describe how their illness affects their close relationships – spouses, children, parents and friends. Dr. Marcus and Karen received responses from more than 6,100 people – painting a picture of the significant personal burden associated with FM.


Curcumin – Support for Cancer Stem Cell Defense?

A recent trial involving application of curcumin (the primary phytochemical in the spice turmeric) to esophageal cancer cell lines suggests it supports cellular defense mechanisms against both the cancer cells and the hard-to-beat cancer stem cells – those “cell subpopulations that appear to resist the effects of chemo and radiation therapy.”


Melatonin – Support for Pain Perception

Re: Melatonin Plays a Role in Reducing Pain Sensitivity

Most people recognize melatonin as the body’s sleep-wake regulating hormone. Now a review of studies addressing melatonin’s impact on pain perception suggests it also “plays an important role in the pathophysiological mechanism of pain” and can reduce pain sensitivity by “acting at both the spinal cord and supraspinal levels.”


The Weird Origins of Mitochondria

ProHealth often features articles about the cells’ energy-generating mitochondria. We found this description of their likely origins at Protein Data Bank – 101, a site hosted by biologists at Rutgers, UC-San Diego and U-Wisconsin:

“Oxygen is consumed in special compartments inside our cells, termed mitochondria. When looking in the electron microscope, mitochondria bear an uncanny resemblance to simple bacteria. Today, many biologists believe that mitochondria are actually the result of a bacterial invasion sometime in the distant past. A bacterium squeezed inside another cell, but didn’t kill the cell in the process. Instead they lived peacefully together. When the cell divided, the bacteria inside did too, so both daughter cells had bacterial invaders as well. Over many generations, the two became totally dependent on one another. The bacteria inside specialized on energy production and the cell provided protection and nutrients. Today, these bacteria are our mitochondria.”


Discovery of Sjogren’s Antibodies to Allow Early Diagnosis

Re: “Novel autoantibodies in Sjogren’s syndrome” Clinical Immunology, Dec. 2012

Sjogren’s syndrome, the autoimmune disease made famous by Venus Williams, begins with symptoms of dry eyes, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, etc. as salivary and tear glands are damaged. The autoantibodies that have been required for definitive diagnosis appear late in the disease, when these glands “are already dead.” But new research at Buffalo General Medical Center has identified other autoantibodies that can be detected in most cases early on – allowing treatment to begin when patients are much more likely to benefit. 


Note: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. It is general and anecdotal 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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One thought on “Hot Topics & Readers’ Notes – 12-19-12”

  1. AuntTammie says:

    It’s a great service, but contrary to what was posted here, it is NOT available to everyone in the US – only certain areas have it.

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