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Encephalitis lethargica

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Marco, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Marco

    Marco Grrrrrrr!

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    You may have read/heard of yesterday's sad demise of Oliver Sacks, a pioneering and unorthodox neurologist and author perhaps best known for the movie Awakenings, dramatising his accounts of his partial success in treating severe cases of encephalitis lethargica.

    Also known as 'sleepy sickness' (not to be confused with sleeping sickness carried by testse flies) it was remarkably epidemic in the early 20th century.

    Interesting speculation on what may have caused it on Wiki :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encephalitis_lethargica
     
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  2. Research 1st

    Research 1st Severe ME, POTS & MCAS.

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    Interesting post Marco.

    So the WIKI says IgG antibodies in Encephalitis Lethargica can bind to basal ganglia & mid brain neurons:

    Have we ever heard of anyone with ME or CFS who has antibodies to basal ganglia I wonder? Perhaps this might be an avenue some could consider worthwhile? We could theorise of a pathogen infiltrating that part of the CNS, and an autoimmune response launching against, or perhaps not - which might then find absence of antibodies. A slight problem when trying to prove it 'exists'!

    The only vague link I can think of in ME, is the sad case of Sophia Mirza (RIP) who had dorsal root ganglion inflammation. I wonder if an autopsy finding of dorsal root ganglionitis, is usually/sometimes/never associated to the production of basal ganglia antibodies in the blood and thus potentially associated to the Encephalitis Lethargica you posted on here?
     
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  3. Marco

    Marco Grrrrrrr!

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    Good questions. You might find the following articles interesting also.
     
  4. Marco

    Marco Grrrrrrr!

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    "Autopsies confirmed what the symptoms had implied – patients suffered from an inflammation confined to a small region at the base of the brain.

    And the recovery of those who survived was an illusion, as encephalitis lethargica proved to be a multi-stage disorder.

    The second phase was marked by a general loss of concentration and interest in life, giving a vague sensation that the patient was not the person they had once been.

    But this period, which resembled chronic fatigue syndrome, was the calm before the storm."

    (my bolding)

    http://theconversation.com/a-viral-...e-curious-case-of-encephalitis-lethargica-660
     
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  5. Marco

    Marco Grrrrrrr!

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  6. Bob

    Bob

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    That's an increasing article. It makes me wonder how many cases of schizophrenia and ME are a direct result of unusual strains of streptococcus bacteria. If I remember correctly, Mady Hornig has a special interest in streptococcus bacteria, and the way it causes neuro-psychiatric symptoms. This is the sort of thing that should show up in the large Lipkin/Hornig study, if it's there to be found.
     
  7. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    See also this page by the encephalitis association. I'd point out that rheumatic fever is caused by group A streptococcus, and streptococcus pneumoniae was once described as part of genus diplococcus (now abandoned). Scarlet fever is another possible consequence of infection by these bacteria.

    I'm sure many of us went through a period around onset when we had recurrent "strep throat". The problem is not the presence or absence of these bacteria, which are widespread, but the way our bodies cope with them.

    I'll add one intriguing factor known to be important in the case of scarlet fever: the color used as a diagnostic sign is a reaction to a toxin produced by streptococci themselves infected with phage viruses. These viruses cause rearrangements of the bacterial genome. There is plenty of evidence of horizontal transfer of genes, though most genes are highly-conserved between members of the same bacterial genus and "species". While many bacteria tend to avoid killing or disabling their hosts, the phage is one step removed from responsibility.

    So in this case there is a possibility the disease which damages human hosts is caused by viruses infecting bacteria which infect humans. These can even be retroviruses which infect prokaryotes. (Most viruses, and even retroviruses, found on mucous membranes target the local biota rather than humans.)

    How would you classify this kind of disease using current medical textbooks?
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
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  8. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member

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    Unexplained?
     

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