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Article: Bad Wiring? State of the Knowledge Workshop III: Systems Biology

Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Phoenix Rising Team, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Phoenix Rising Team

    Phoenix Rising Team

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  2. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    Cort - Great article; thanks for making this digestible. It's heartening to read about an ace researcher with excellent, targeted ideas, who's got funding. An interesting (to me) aspect of working with systems is that you can intervene in a variety of places and end up with similar results. There isn't always one best "fix."
  3. medfeb

    medfeb Senior Member

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    Cort,
    Excellent review. This was definitely one of the workshop highlights with great potential to unravel the disease by understanding the different systems and their interactions.
    Thank you for pulling this together
  4. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I think its so hopeful in a number of ways; one the NIH is obviously really interested in Broderick's - that was a huge grant! Another is that a variety of researchers are interested in finding the kind of on-off switchs that turn temporary problems (flu-like illness) into a chronic one. I was glad to see Kelley there and I don't know why other researchers in his field haven't jumped in yet but the Lights are working on the same problem.

    Broderick and Suzanne Vernon also proprosed a model of HPA axis functioning which they believe might be able to resolved by temporarily reducing cortisol levels in the blood to near zero - at which point they believe the system will reset itself. Its not the system is broken - its that its gotten stuck in a less than optimal way of functioning.

    Of course if pathogens are 'it' in ME/CFS as they appear to be for some people - the system analyses should show evidence of that too - as they appear to be (the TH2/Th1 shift.)
  5. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    It'll be so interesting to see how it will play out. My sense is that Broderick is doing cutting edge work not just in CFS but in the medical field as well. This kind of multi-systemic work is what the ORWH said they would be willing, 10 years ago, to fund - and they seem to willing to do that, at least with Broderick. When the NIH does fund a study they tend to fund pretty innovative studies.

    They basically said some years ago that they weren't interested in pathogens and, until XMRV came along, they were funding nothing on pathogens. Now they're actually funding a couple of pathogen studies on CFS - the Lipkin Montoya study, quite a few studies on XMRV and the Huber endogenous retrovirus study...

    but my sense is that they what they really want are these kind of multisystemic studies that cross boundaries..that is why, after all, we got kicked out of the NIAID - because we didn't fit really well into the immune Institute...although the immune aspect seems to be getting ever more focus.
  6. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    From Dr. Broderick's presentation in Miami, I recall him saying that in GWS patients the methyl-napthalene pathway seems to be the problem, not phenylalanine like it is with CFS. I found this interesting as I have a horrible reaction to napthalene (moth balls) and I am not a Gulf War Vet.
  7. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    Let me take a wild guess -- Gordon Broderick has a background in engineering. Engineers have been doing network analysis and analysis of multiple interacting systems for years. Medicine has been stuck in the dark ages in terms of data analysis and analysis of dynamic systems. And the human body is a dynamic system if there ever was one.

    I always thought it was strange that so many doctors seem to think that they can take a single data point and know all they need to know about a dynamic system. I can well imagine that those doctors are grumbling about whether Broderick's system analyses mean anything -- their understanding of system interactions is 50 years behind the times (meaning nonexistent) and they can't begin to grasp the complexities of multiple interacting systems.
  8. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Brilliant Cort, many thanks for yet another understandable "overview" in current research. It is good to see this important part of the whole jigsaw coming together. Whoopee.
  9. pamb

    pamb Senior Member

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    Thank you for an excellent summary Cort. This gives me hope.
  10. moblet

    moblet Unknown Quantity

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    Sickofcfs is spot on. I'm a mathematician who used to make a living out of optimising complex systems, and Broderick's approach is, IMHO, both brilliant and, with the technology available today, certain to discover stuff. The medical establishment is really going to struggle with it though, as they have zero training in quantitative methods and mathematical sciences, and are taught in the most reductionist fashion imaginable. It's impossible to explain to a doctor that A is connected to Z because they "know" it's not, and since they don't comprehend mathematics no mathematical proof will convince them either. Kudos to the funders for seeing the importance and potential of the research - may we one day see the triumph of Science over Medicine!
  11. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Interesting comments moblet - just to add UK wise the simplistic medical approach - too much confuses - eyes glazed over rapidly with more than two symptoms I found. And posted in a local family GP surgery "no more than two symptoms at a time". Hooray for the recognition of interacting systems.
  12. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    I agree 100%. It's also worth noting that Dr. Broderick seems to be an outstanding person. I spoke with him for 5 minutes after a recent presentation that he gave. He really seems interested in making a difference in this field.
  13. Gemini

    Gemini Senior Member

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    Cort,

    Excellent article, well-organized and clearly written!

    It's reassuring that cutting-edge technology is being applied to ME/CFS and so rewarding that patient funding made it happen!

    Yesterday's New York Times reported a major discovery in the area of Systems Biology that ME/CFS researchers may want to look at --gut bacteria divide people into three types:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/science/21gut.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Human gut&st=cse
  14. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, Cort.

    I'm hopeful that Gordon Broderick's "top-down" systems analysis will mesh well with my "bottoms-up" biochemical analysis of the interaction of the various body systems in ME/CFS. I had a brief talk with him at the Workshop, and have sent him copies of my 2004, 2007, and 2009 IACFS/ME poster papers, which are posted on your site at

    http://aboutmecfs.org.violet.arvixe.com/Trt/TrtGSHIntro.aspx

    It would be very nice if all this will fit together!

    Thanks for posting this report, and I enjoyed talking with you there, too.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  15. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Thanks once again Cort.

    This seemed to be the most exciting presentation of the workshop for me, and it was referred to a few times later in the workshop by other speakers - it seemed to have made quite an impression.

    There were one or two great slides showing the 2 or 3 different network patterns which characterise GWI, ME/CFS and healthy controls. Particularly interesting was that the GWI pattern was really quite different from the ME/CFS pattern - in the latter you could see, in a great visual representation, how all the connections between markers were somehow more chaotic and disordered. As with the spinal fluid study, it's really exciting to see such clear distinctions between what until now have seemed like overlapping syndromes.

    I didn't see images of those particular slides in your piece - is there any way of getting hold of them? Should be possible to screengrab from the video.

    A picture can paint a thousand words, and as I commented before, the Light study graphs showing the phenomenon of PEM visually look to me like "our hockey stick". I think that a simple page of information with these two sets of images, and a very brief and simple explanation as to what they mean, could work wonders educationally.
  16. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Glad to hear from SickofCFS and Moblet that this stuff really works and yes, he does have an engineering background :rolleyes:. Pandora did a nice interview with him in that outlines his background and his work when they gave him his grant in 2009. Its below but for easier reading you might want to check it out on its own page on PR here

    http://www.pandoranet.info/gordonbr...chgrantrecipientnewsletterionterview2009.html

  17. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Yes, those were great slides! I just do not know how to do that. I tried - I'm pretty sure it can be done...does anyone know how to do that?
  18. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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    This is very exciting, esp the fact that NIH have made a $4m grant a) because you can do a lot with this and b) because it's the NIH taking CFS seriously. My one caution is that with enough data and computing power you will find a pattern in any set of patients - the trick is to find the same pattern using the exact same methodology in repeated sets of different CFS patients.
  19. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Good point Oceanblue - we need validation; that's been the problem with gene expression results - except for Kerr's. It is good to see some similar abnormalities popping up - validation is key...just think if they can put all this data using 'supercomputer algorhythms - and then come up with the same findings again....in a way that would be astonishing - and very convincing.

    As both Dr. Klimas and Dr. Broderick noted - we're not even adjusting for gender yet......

    I am looking forward to seeing the $4 million grant...that's an astonishing figure - that's what I heard and it'll be amazing to see it. Its so much bigger than any other grant that I'm crossing my fingers...
  20. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

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    Yes awesome, Im only worried that the concentional disciplines wont pick up on it/ wont be convinced (too weird). And those are the peeps that are going (or not going) to treat us.

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