Thursday, August 26, 2010

Retrovirus Link to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Image by Velica

For those dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalitis, among the enormous frustrations in dealing with this illness lies the perpetually unanswered question: What causes this disease?

A question that all Sjoggies have asked as well.

Apparently, last Monday, CFS patients may have a potential answer, according to the results of a study by NIH/Harvard and collaborating evidence published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The possible culprit? A retrovirus. You can read more on CFS Central:

by Mindy Kitei

The just-released study detects variants of the retrovirus XMRV in most CFS patients. In addition, nearly 7 percent of the healthy U.S. controls—all of whom are blood donors—test positive, signaling the contamination of the U.S. blood supply.

I was especially intrigued when I read this paragraph:

Alter said he’ll look at other cohorts of CFS patients as well as patients with other diseases, including hepatitis C, HIV, fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases to see if they harbor these MLVs. He’ll also be examining larger populations of blood donors to determine if the MLVs are transmitted by blood.

Could a retrovirus be causing autoimmune diseases? 

1 comment:

annie said...

Julia,I'm so glad you posted this topic. This news is all you hear in the cfs community lately. At last some validation for people who know they're very ill, and yet have been unable to prove it until now. There is no treatment for cfs, there are too many symptoms and it's very complicated, not unlike sjogren's. The very first meds cfsers are prescribed are anti depressants. As if that will cure your pains, neurological problems,gut problems and a host of others too long to list.

I'm glad they've mentioned autoimmune diseases. All theses symptoms seem to overlap in these different diseases as fibro, cfs and even sjogren's, and it would make sense if they all shared some variant of a virus. As a chronic fatigue sufferer, I thank all those hard working doctors and technicians who didn't give up and are still fighting for people who are unable as they are too sick. Maybe we can finally treat chronically ill people as patients and not label them lazy and depressed as they have done in the past.