The power and pitfalls of omics part 2: epigenomics, transcriptomics and ME/CFS
Simon McGrath concludes his blog about the remarkable Prof George Davey Smith's smart ideas for understanding diseases, which may soon be applied to ME/CFS.
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Autoimmune Disease prevalence in the Western World

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by ChrisD, May 22, 2017.

  1. ChrisD

    ChrisD Senior Member

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    East Sussex
    I was having a discussion with my Acupuncturist about Autoimmune disease in the area that she practices in the UK by comparison to her original home in South America (Where she used to live a few years ago). She said that she has never seen so many people with Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as Arthritis, MS, ME, IBS, Crohn's etc. and that in South America the prevalence of these diseases is very low despite the fact that there are plenty of Germs/bacteria/parasites that you might expect to cause some issues.

    [​IMG]

    As a patriot of her country, she put's this down to the way society is focused around Family, Networks of friends and Micro-communities. Also a culture of being open and honest, sharing feelings and emotions, and not carrying the burden of negative thoughts or worrries. It was slightly frustrating for me to hear that after going through various counselling sessions and CBT and coming to realise that this illness is most certainly NOT IN MY HEAD. But it did get me thinking about the fact that she might have a point on a larger scale, that at a deeper level than any doctor or psychologist can diagnose a CFS patient of having psychological influence to their illness, that really ALL Autoimmune disease is influenced by Western culture. So whilst the UK Psychology team for CFS waste their time trying to put a finger on how Psychology causes CFS, they are missing the point that it is not just Psychology but environment, culture, society, lifestyle that are the TRIGGER the onset of many autoimmune/ neuroimmune diseases BUT NOT the factors that maintain the illness. Yet other diseases than CFS have treatments or cures because the research approach has been to come in from an angle of assessing the biological status post-triggering of the disease.

    It compounds the fact that it is wholly irresponsible to put the responsibility of ''changing psychology'' or ''mindset'' as treatment of CFS on the patient when they are not necessarily capable of changing their environment and society. Imagine telling someone with Multiple Sclerosis to do so?

    I personally believe that the triggers for ME/CFS are or can be any combination of Psychological stress, Physical stress and almost 100% of the time a virus. But beyond that, the illness is not maintained by psychology but by biological dysfunction (Gut, Liver, Enzymes and so onn). So for someone like Esther Crawley to go down the Psychological route is even more of a waste of time in my opinion.

    I know that a lot of people might not like this post so feel free to delete it/move it from the main discussion board or whatever, but I just wanted to share a concept that has been on my mind and see if anyone agrees or has anything to add. Thanks.
     
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  2. gregh286

    gregh286 Senior Member

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    Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
    Processed shitty food in west.
    Street food, market stalls, local grown etc in South America. Maybe not as clean but not through a factory adding bleaches, colours and artificial flavour.
    this map not look like that 100 years ago.
     
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  3. Basilico

    Basilico Florida

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    Several years ago I came across this same information. I don't remember the details anymore, but there is a guy who had really serious allergies, and was so desperate that he travelled to Cameroon to try to get infected by hookworms. He succeeded and went on to develop a business where he'd save the worms from stool, sanitize them, and sell them to others.

    The worms don't replicate inside the human body, so the amount that you infect yourself with is the most you will have. They have a lifespan of a couple of years, after which you'd have to re-infect yourself. Supposedly they have a strong modulating impact on the immune system, which is what allows them to stay in the body without getting attacked.

    This modulation supposedly reduces all sorts of autoimmune responses and general inflammation. There is a huge group of parents who are using this to help their autistic kids, and it seems to cause some major improvements. There was even a NYT magazine article about this maybe a year ago.

    We were serious considering trying this. However, it was extremely expensive and there were no guarantees given. It was easy to contact this man, who owns the company, and we discussed at length what was involved.

    I think there is some merit to this strategy. However, the more digging I did later, the more I learned that for everyone who tries helminths and is helped, there is someone who tries it and has no benefit.

    We eventually decided against trying it, mainly because we couldn't see sinking several thousand dollars into something that had no evidence of working for CFS...or even any kind of partial guarantee whatsoever. However, others may feel that the possibility for improvement is well worth the gamble. It's been my experience that when someone claims to have cured themselves of a debilitating disease, if they turn around and charge thousands of dollars for that same 'miracle' treatment to others who are desperate and willing to try anything for any amount of money, it's usually a red flag.

    For anyone who wants to read more about this, search for "hygiene hypothesis" which is what some researchers are now thinking is the ultimate cause of all our GI issues and autoimmune issues.
     
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  4. ChrisD

    ChrisD Senior Member

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    East Sussex
    @Basilico Thanks, that's very interesting, I didn't realise that is what the graphic was referring to (Whoops - brain fog). I was reflecting more on western culture being to blame and how individual patients couldn't be held responsible for the environment or society they have been brought into i.e. work stress, western culture, food, diet, and how in other diseases we have mitigated for such a culture. But Hookworms and Helminths is an interesting tangent that I was not expecting - I will research it :)
     
  5. Basilico

    Basilico Florida

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    @ChrisD , yes that map comparison is the one generally used in discussions of hygiene hypothesis. It shows that with a decrease in helminth infection comes an increase in autoimmune disease. Though it could be a correlation, it is increasingly thought to be causation.

    I'm not sure why your acupuncturist would think that this map shows anything other than a comparison of autoimmunity prevalence vs. helminth infection prevalence. How could she possibly qualify the idea that billions of people in particular countries/continents are "more open and honest" than the billions of people elsewhere? This seems like some kind of personal bias that is not backed by anything concrete.

    Even though there are no cures or treatments for CFS, there are also no cures and no GOOD treatments for most autoimmune diseases, either.

    In the regions where autoimmunity is not prevalent (and helminth infection is high) there is an overwhelming amount of chronic stress - governments that are corrupt, repressive, and brutal, inadequate food (check out the daily mass food riots happening for the past couple of years in Venezuela), and high exposure to environmental toxins like heavy metals. Yet, even with all these factors, autoimmune issues have not become rampant, though there are plenty of other health problems that one could argue are just as bad, if not worse. This is a big sign to me that chronic stress is not the cause of autoimmunity, though there is no argument that it is terrible for health overall.

    There were many benefits of improving sanitation and indoor plumbing, the decrease of cholera being just one. However, these improvements and benefits came at a cost, which is thought to be that without specific types of helminth loads, our immune systems have collectively spun out of control because they evolved over time to live symbiotically with particular parasites.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
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