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Can ME/CFS patients in the UK choose who they go to see on the NHS?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by charles shepherd, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I think we need to separate the notion of diagnostic biomarkers and outcome biomarkers. The 2 day CPET is currently an outcome biomarker. So are other things in all probability, but they need more work.

    Our first widespread diagnostic test might not go to the core of the disease process/es. In time these will be identified though, and we will get better biomarkers.

    The issue with the 2 day CPET to me is that its been around since the first half of last century, and its an obvious test. From a clinical perspective it tells you, objectively, what treatment is doing. This is critical from a clinical outcomes viewpoint.

    I don't think its an ideal test, I suspect it may be rapidly superseded, but its what we have now.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
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  2. Marco

    Marco Old blackguard

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    @Jonathan Edwards

    In the context of what if anything can be done for ME/CFS patients, one of the most consistent findings (with several recent papers) is autonomic dysfunction manifesting as symptoms such as POTS etc. As I understand it autonomic dysfunction is associated with increased morbidity and mortality and may be a treatable condition with the best outcomes when tacked early. .

    Although discussed in the context of diabetic autonomic neuropathy (which may lead to cardiac autonomic neuropathy) Vinik and Murray, 2008 (link below) includes the following quote :

    http://www.touchendocrinology.com/articles/autonomic-neuropathy-treatable

    As ME/CFS is a chronic 'disease' where autonomic dysfunction appears to be common and where treatments are available and 'non-controversial', would you agree that at least testing for autonomic dysfunction should be a standard approach to care and management of the condition, even if autonomic dysfunction is just a downstream symptom?
     
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  3. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    People talk about low NK cell function a lot, but there are some of us here, myself included who have classic M.E symptoms, but actually have high NK cell activity - it is easy to presume all PWME have low function. I have no idea what this means, just pointing it out.
     
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  4. Marco

    Marco Old blackguard

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    Despite the focus on this I'm not sure it means a lot. Oxidative stress can cause it. The only interesting aspect to this I've found is that CD56 bright NK cell counts may be used to determine how effective the monoclonal antibody daclizumab is in the treatment of relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1458677/
     
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  5. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Board Member

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    Yes, as long as there is some way to make the link there may be some who will dismiss something like low NK activity. But you are right that if there was some sort of dose response curve, or in this case an absence of a dose response relation to activity then the argument would be much stronger. But before that we need to find out why the NK findings are not confirmed by some labs. We need an observation that you can repeat anywhere. My suspicion is that the reasons for the variation may not be that hard to identify. It just requires a concerted effort to track them down.
     
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  6. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Board Member

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    Yes, I don't think even the people working on low NK function would want us to think they thought all types of ME would have low NK activity. There would be no problem in there being some sorts of ME with high levels. In my speculation of 6 types we could easily have one high and one low. But it is likely that the types come in much the same proportions across the world and if it true that the average mix has low average NK function and we can repeat that time and again we have what we need. We can also probably say that thos ewith high NK activity may belong to a minor subgroup.

    As Marco says, all sorts of things can depress NK function, but that does not necessarily negate its value as a starter marker' from which the causes can be unravelled. I am not sure where I would lay my bets but I think it deserves more work.
     
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  7. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I seem to remember Nancy Klimas saying that the NK findings are consistent if you look at recent studies using modern tests, and with large enough numbers to cut down on statistical noise - I wouldn't trust my memory on this, though. Ring a bell with anyone?
     
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  8. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Erica Verrillo noted the inconsistency of immune findings in a blogpost republished here, including reference to reasons for variation, e.g.
    and
    She does say that NK function is consistently low, but I guess that is because not enough research has been done or published, or maybe people like @justy have been misdiagnosed, as seems to be very common.
     
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  9. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Board Member

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    As indicated in the earlier post I think it may still be perfectly true that ME in toto shows low NK activity but that within this there are subgroups where it is high. I doubt Dr Klimas would have difficulty with that. If Justy has ME16 but most people have ME1-9, that does not mean Justy is misdiagnosed to my mind!
     
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  10. NK17

    NK17 Senior Member

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    Just my personal anecdotal input regarding low NK function, which does not mean that I consider this a universal ME blood biomarker.

    The very first time I got tested (by Dr. Kogelnik), was back in 2011 right after a long vacation in Italy (my last one), back then I was not bedbound nor homebound, I was still up right, walking and the result was 17 LU.

    Next test was in March 2012, after several months on high dose Famvir (for herpes viruses chronic infections) when I was still driving, cooking, groceries shopping and relatively active (doing yoga once a week). I was tested at the same time as a close young blood relative and we both had low NK functions, precisely 9 and 8!

    In the spring of 2012 I started to have to slow down most activities and my NK function was 11 LU.

    In 2013 I started to suffer from clear autonomic dysfunction. I slowly had to give up driving, all physical activities, most prep for cooking for meals had to be carefully done while sitting, had reduced groceries shopping to once a week and my NK function was 5 LU.

    To me this smells like my NK function is clearly linked to the progression of my type of ME. I also have a family history of lymphoma, glandular fever and CVID.

    It's all tied up together and Dr. Nancy Klimas has been reporting abnormalities in the NK cells in her large ME patients' group.

    The disease has been talking to us for a while, it's just a matter of one more sustained international push and we'll get one biomarker or a cluster of biomarkers, which might correlate to the disease progression and/or the spectrum quality of the MEs subgroups.

    I think the Japanese have been calling ME/CFS a low NK cells disorder, since the 80's or 90's!

    Dr. Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik @ Griffith University in Australia is working on this specific immunological aspects and will soon be testing the most severe cases of ME patients.

    NK cells have been recently implicated in MS and some PWME have white matter lesions, which are non specific, just because most doctors are too ignorant and not curious enough to read the CCC and ICC to actually link them with ME.

    NK will become one of the tests that will tie together the immunological dysfunction that is present in PWME, at some point or another, and will help in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
     
  11. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    True - it may come down to how we define ME! :D
     
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  12. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    NK cell count and function are NOT the same, right? One is the number of cells per unit of blood, the other is measured how?
     
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  13. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Thanks for the reminder. I knew this but had forgotten! No idea how function is measured.

    @Jonathan Edwards...?
     
  14. NK17

    NK17 Senior Member

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    Right.
    But maybe somebody else can articulate on this, since I'm about to crash and the day after tomorrow I'll take the 2 day CPET ;(.
    FYI I've just got NK function tested before the CPET and will retest after; results are pending ;).
     
  15. Leopardtail

    Leopardtail Senior Member

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    The most troubling thing about 'bias' is that due to the large number of specialities involved in ME patients (with their GPs) may well be self-selecting by virtue of their particular symptom profiles.

    E.g. @MeSci takes an immune view of the disease due to her reading of the science and her particular symptoms. By contrast I have relatively few immune issues beyond a degree of under-function but marked problems with Mitochondria and Endocrine function. We are polar opposites in some of our symptoms. As such we would each push for a different kind of referral, be interested in participating in different studies, and be identified as needing different help by out GPs (if all worked well). This is of course on top of researchers choosing their own selection criteria to suit their interest!

    This comes back to the project I have begun discussing with you that attempts to do the fundamental first science: identify the groups, and standardise the reporting. If research is done on the whole population, we need to be able to identify on whom it worked, on whom it didn't.
     
  16. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I think it could be a reason that the australian researchers seperated the nk function into bright and dim cells. I did several over an 18month period in this study, i probably wasnt really supppose to do this but i took an immune mod cycloferon before one test and it shot my nk function way above normal range but my nk bright cells were still low. this type of testing i believe is still a research test, so its hard to get outside of the research setting.

    I think the reason they also did other testing was because of people like yourself, maybe u have a low cd8 t cell function?? I think they need to have a pool of core tests and test positive for a majority as well as tick the boxes for the CCC. I think the nk function test alone isnt the answer, but i think adding some of these tests to the CCC would help refine the group and have a more accurate diagnosed group of people that they could use for research too instead of having a mixed bag of people with depression and other disorders that dont have ME??
     
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  17. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I believe the australian researchers are also looking into comparing nk function, bright and dim cell function with MS and RA disorders. Im sure while they have the blood they will be measuring other immune signals like cytokines etc
     
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  18. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    That will be interesting NK :thumbsup:
     
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  19. Leopardtail

    Leopardtail Senior Member

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    This seems to be true of most aspects of ME doesn't it? We near all seems to have poor Mito function. But with adrenaline, Cortisol, T4, B12 some of us are low, some high, the only uncommon things seems to be 'having something within 1STD or mean'.

    We really need to have a much better idea of how these differences correlate.
     
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  20. Leopardtail

    Leopardtail Senior Member

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    It will be very interesting to see whether your results are stable (ie inherent) or variable (a function of fatigue level).
    @Jonathan Edwards how rapidly does the profusion and activity level of a NK cell change?
    What is their half-life (or life span) in the blood stream?
     
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