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Article: Ottawa IACFS/Conference Reports V: The Brain.....

Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Phoenix Rising Team, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Phoenix Rising Team

    Phoenix Rising Team

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  2. Alistair

    Alistair

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    Awesome article with terrific broad overview, thank you Cort.
    Al'
  3. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Thanks! I like how all these brain regions are connected to each other and the results are starting to converge. Miller will be an interesting guy to keep an eye on as well as the epigenetic stuff. Dr. Vernon said they recently learned that epigenetic changes can occur almost instantly - thereby providing a gene silencing mechanism that might be able to account for rapid onset.

    Check this out - and please don't worry about the description of ME/CFS as a 'behavioral disorder' since what he is suggesting is that an immune factor, the same as seen in people with IFN-a induced fatigue in hepatitis - is present in CFS. The amazing thing is that that oligoadenylate synthetase is good old RNase L!

    RNase L has been a dead duck in CFS research for years now and all of a sudden it pops up - in this study of fatigued hepatitis patients. (RNase L is a product of the IFN system - so it does make sense that it might pop up - but to link to fatigue in this group of patients - that's pretty darn good!

    I was bowled over when I say Miller mention CFS in the abstract.


  4. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Thanks Cort - it's all on way now and very interesting to follow. (Can't help thinking just how much ME is advancing the whole of medical understanding).
  5. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    I wish some more of the recognized names in ME research would do more in this area. There is rightly a lot of research done on the immune system but I think more could be done on the brain. I've been thinking for a while that advances will probably come from a different field such as research into autism, MS, Alzheimers, etc. It's discouraging and surprising that there isn't a whole lot to show in those diseases that have been recognized to have damage to the brain; and they receive so much more funding.
  6. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I agree Floydguy. My gut says the brain is key here. It is interesting how little researchers look to neurological disorders to understand ME/CFS. Chaudhuri and Behan did about 10 years ago - they neurologically fatiguing disorders directly to ME/CFS but after that there isn't alot. I wonder about ADHD as well - my guess is that there's alot of it in ME/CFS.

    It'll be interesting to see what the Biovista drug project funded by the CAA will turn up. I wouldn't be surprised if it focuses on drugs used to treat other neurological disorders.
  7. PhoenixDown

    PhoenixDown Senior Member

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    What does any of this mean in terms of tests we and order and treatments that can be prescribed to us... today? Time is running out, my condition only worsens year by year, and there's no telling how much of the damage is recoverable.
  8. nanonug

    nanonug Senior Member

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    I am glad researchers are seriously looking at methylation as one of the culprits. Global hypomethylation with local hypermethylation is one characteristic on cancer, for instance. I am convinced, thanks to Rich Van Konynenburg, that normalizing methylation is one of the most important steps in the path to recovery.

    By the way, Rich Van Konynenburg generally hangs out in the "Detox: Methylation\B12\Glutathione\Chelation\..." forum.
  9. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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    Great article with a wonderfully broad sweep across brain research, thanks, I learned a lot.

    That was some session with Andrew Miller, I would love to have been there (OK, I wouln't have lasted 5 minutes, but you know what I mean), really fascinating and such a shame he won't be pursuing his work on CFS - he has a fine record in brain research. Do you know when his paper will be published?

    A note of caution, though. Brain studies are rarely, if ever, conclusive. Most brain-probing equipment e.g. MRI are expensive and time-consuming to use, so sample sizes tend to be very small. Without multiple replications the findings are indicative rather than definitive. That's certainly the case for the studies (well, abstracts) I've just looked at linking fatigue with dopamine or the basal ganglia. These are still early days.

    I like the way Ben Natelson and Dikoma Shungu are evaluating several different brain abnormalities at once: assessing cognitive performance, blood flows and biochemical composition (eg lactate) [Research 1st article you link to]. If they can replicate multiple abnormalities in the same patients that will start to look really convincing.
    That's very interesting - do you have a reference? The MRC recently agreed funding for a UK study on fatigue and IFN-alpha (which I blogged about here).

    Re molecular signatures during IFN-a therapy:
    That's an awfully small sample for gene expression profiling, especially using a genome-wide chip, where false positives are very likely because of the huge number of genes analysed. The Lights, who have significantly larger samples in their work, use Quantitative Real-Time PCR (QT-PCR) to measure transciption, which is a more accurate process than microarrays. Best practice is, apparently, to use microarray chips (on larger samples) to identify interesting genes then follow-up with QT-PCR on those interesting genes. So this study is an intriguing pointer, but I'm not sure its any more than that at this stage.

    And I agree the Insular Cortex is a really interesting candidate for playing a key role in ME. Incidentally, there is some evidence that the Insular Cortex works intimately with the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC), which your piece also mentions as having a possible role in ME.

    I certainly agree that when we finally do crack ME it will involve a breakthrough in understanding how the body/brain works. Whatever the 'thing' is that is broken in ME/CFS is, I strongly suspect it is something that is largely unknown to medicine today.

    Maybe we shouldn't be so surprised, or discouraged: the brain is regularly described as 'the last great frontier in biology' and is easily the most complex thing in the known universe - so getting anywhere is not going to be easy.
    Firestormm likes this.
  10. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Thanks Oceanblue,

    Miller was just a great guy - he was very willing to talk and obviously very interested in the subject. It would have been great to have you there to make sense of it all :)

    Don't know about the date of the paper - it will certainly be this year - the CDC has already stated that - but don't know when.

    Thanks for insight on the sample size - something I often don't think to check. I imagine that its all pretty exploratory until we get big sample sizes and multiple validations. I wonder how in the world with all that data they will be able to zero on the same factor or gene.......
  11. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I'm not sure how it all fits together but it certainly does make methylation more interesting.....I didn't know that it played such a crucial part in gene expression. Dr. Vernon recently that epigenetic changes can occur almost overnight and Miller indicates that they may be able to be changed almost overnight...
  12. oceanblue

    oceanblue Senior Member

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    Thanks for all that. Generally, the more data you have, the easier it is to see the real signal (gene, factor, whatever) against the 'noise' (false positives) - it's a statistics thing.
    Firestormm likes this.
  13. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I have to say (and I need to read it all through again more carefully) but I am delighted and reassured at the same time to hear that brain-related research has not been lost in the mists of time.

    I understand that it is often the case only autopsies reveal physical damage when performed on patients with ME and that it isn't always clear whether any damage is due to the condition - largely because the research just has never been there.

    There is I think more that can be done with scanning on live patients and through the establishment of biobanks as well as means to register oneself for autopsy-tissue analysis upon death.

    Also pleased to see Behan and Chaudhri getting a mention. Ten years! Blimey. Just goes to show that the ball may have been dropped but has now perhaps bounced (hopefully) :D
  14. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Balls dropped but getting picked up again

    • Chaudhuri and Behan's neurological findings
    • Heart stuff from Peckerman/Natelson by the Japanese
    • ??????
  15. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I'm sorry to hear that.... I really don't know. All I can say is that researchers are converging on several areas of th brain - and that is good news. How long it will all take to produce something concrete that will help I have no idea. Things can happen quickly in medicine or take a long time. The more minds focused on a subject the better.

    I was just talking to one Dr. Peterson's assistants and the CFI Lipkin pathogen study is really something...that study should start getting results later this year. Montoya should be publishing this year ..

    Some people who are in terrible, terrible shape do recover....I don't think there's necessarily a point beyond which you can not return. Good luck!
  16. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    No I haven't known the very worst - not even clse- its never been pleasant...Not sure how I'm avoiding you though...

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