April 23, 2018

468 A Viral Cause for CFS? [23 Apr 2018]

Last week I described chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and wrote that officially there is no known cause or cure. But is that true?

In their 2014 book Plague – One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism, and Other Diseases, Kent Heckenlively and Judy Mikovits tell the story of the discovery and cover-up of a possible cause (and cure) for chronic fatigue syndrome.

In 2006 Judy Mikovits, a virus research scientist with 30 years’ experience in studying HIV/AIDS, accepted a position in Nevada to study chronic fatigue syndrome. She immediately noticed several similarities between CFS and AIDS and began to suspect a viral cause. In both diseases an impaired immune system allows a wide variety of “opportunistic” infections; both have a high incidence of normally rare cancers; and both show abnormal brain scans and have similar biomarkers such as high cytokine production. Mikovits discovered a retrovirus infection in 67% of CFS sufferers and in 4% of healthy controls. She published her findings in 2009 in the prestigious journal Science.

This particular virus, called XMRV, is a mouse retrovirus, meaning that it originated in mice but had mutated and could now infect humans. XMRV had been associated with prostate cancer since 2006 (but has since been dismissed as a causative factor). The first CFS outbreak in the USA occurred in 1934-5 among the doctors and staff of the Los Angeles County Hospital after receiving a polio vaccine grown on mouse tissue. In the late 1970’s and early ’80’s pockets of CFS began showing up in cities across the country and then around the world. Today an estimated 20 million people world-wide suffer from the condition.

Patients and their families were hopeful that this discovery would lead to a cure or at least a more effective treatment. Alas this was not to be. For various reasons (to be covered next week) the medical research community turned on Mikovits, discredited her and her research, and reverted to the “no known cause” for CFS. The situation has not changed since, leaving at least one more generation of CFS patients to suffer needlessly.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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