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Great article, MS/Bipolar/Schizo=retrovirus activated by other infections

Discussion in 'XMRV Testing, Treatment and Transmission' started by CAcfs, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. CAcfs

    CAcfs Senior Member

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    A great, but long, article. I haven't been coming here much, but I thought everyone would want to see this.

    It is long and "wordy", but if you read the whole thing, you'll be rewarded. Very interesting stuff. If you are too tired to read it all, page 3 is the most informative. ERV stands for endogenous retrovirus, to those only reading parts.

    What I found most interesting, is that the article alleges that all humans have this specific MS/schizo retrovirus (HERV-W) in our genes, but it's only activated in those of us who are exposed to other infections (toxoplasmosis, HHV6, CMV, others) around birth, or possibly later in life.

    Another interesting point was the discussion of how these infections (can't remember if the article meant all the infections, or just the retrovirus, or both) trigger inflammation and immune responses that cause symptoms. So this may explain why Low Dose Naltrexone helps those with MS, and also can help some with CFS. That is something we already know, but it's interesting to hear the immune responses talked about in an article discussing retroviruses too.

    http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jun/03-the-insanity-virus/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C=
     
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  2. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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  3. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    That's indeed a great article CAcfs. I am beginning to suspect as well most of our symtoms are caused by the immune system fighting a virus. The immune system could be triggered by another infection, so people could have been carrying this virus for years, without symptoms.

    LDN has certainly not helped everybody, it has even made some people worse. A thread was posted to this forum a few days ago. Strengthening the immune system might make symptoms worse, as most symptoms might be caused by the immune system...

    I think that a whole new avenue is opening up for researchers and doctors. ERV's might explain many illnesses in man. Or as this researcher is quoted in this article:

    The immune system is a great thing, but it might be causing a lot of collateral damage. The big question: is a virus like XMRV infectious and causing problems or is it an innocent bystander that the immune system wants to annihilate at all costs.

    I do know that medicines that reduce inflammation have helped me tremendously so far, I have been regaining lost ground for a few months now.
    Also, I have had a period for about 2.5 years where almost all my symptoms were gone. This was after I got a horrible bacterial infection when a wisdom tooth was extracted. For about 6 weeks I got copious amounts of Naproxen (anti-inflammatory), Tramadol (which is a strong pain killer, but recent research shows it also has a weird effect on inflammation) and antibiotics (a type that was anti-inflammatory as well).
     
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  4. Merry

    Merry Senior Member

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    Thank you, CAcfs. I had not heard of the discovery of HERV-W. What exciting research.

    With two first cousins (a brother and sister) with MS, I try to follow the news about this disease and always wonder about a possible connection to my own ilness (ME/CFS).
     
  5. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    Great article CAcfs....thanks for sharing. I see a lot of parallels with our predicament.
     
  6. CAcfs

    CAcfs Senior Member

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    Jemal,

    In terms of "The big question: is a virus like XMRV infectious and causing problems or...." ....... I would say that after reading this article, they aren't entirely sure if HERV-W itself is actually causing problems for people, or if it's the immune system (the second half of your "or"), OR (to add a third option), if it's actually the other infections (on page 4, they mention a researcher using artemisinin for toxoplasmosis, so in that case they are obviously trying to go after one of the other infections in these individuals).

    I think one conclusion the researchers with HERV-W have come to, is that simply having the virus as part of your genes does NOT make you ill, on it's own. And they seem to think it's another infection that triggers the problems, as evidenced by the trend they saw with babies born in winter/early spring (when more infections are going around like influenza). The season-of-birth thing was mentioned a lot, so it's obvious they are centering this theory on the other infections that are not the retrovirus, as being "the" factor on whether or not one is sick. Also, they mentioned the "acute onset after mono-like illness" scenario. So again, they are building a case for illness caused not just by this retrovirus.

    So the takeaway message for me was that we can't really place blame only on retroviruses. Well, in the case of HERV-W.

    What's strange is that, every person has this HERV-W (or was I reading that wrong? I need to go back and check, but too tired now). But not everyone has HIV. I'm guessing that those with HERV-W but not sick with MS/bipolar/schizophrenia don't show antibodies to HERV-W, because it hasn't really been "activated" for them in their lifetime? Am I understanding that correctly?

    (So that makes you wonder, with the XMRV testing, if more healthy people have it in their bodies but just won't test positive because XMRV wasn't activated? Or maybe everyone here already has realized that, I dunno).

    So *if* retroviruses are part of CFS, which model is XMRV/MLRV's folowing.....the HERV-W model or the HIV model? Or neither? I haven't been following the XMRV research much, so I'm guessing you guys have talked about some of this already. This article has sparked my interest more than anything. I personally don't think it makes sense that XMRV itself is making us sick. People live asymptomatically with HIV, right?

    But once a retrovirus is set into motion, what can you do? This is more me thinking outloud, about the mystery of it all. The whole thing just doesn't make sense. It seems like if retroviruses were that horrible on their own, humans would be extinct, or nothing would get done (we wouldn't be out building bridges and skyscrapers and inventing electricity...because we'd be too tired/foggy/disabled).

    Did you all notice that they even mentioned cigarette smoke and polluted water as a theory of triggers for retroviruses? To me, that makes more sense. I feel like it has to be something weird/random that is making us sick, because it can't be as simple as retrovirus=disease. My two cents.
     
  7. CAcfs

    CAcfs Senior Member

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    Also, just to add another thought...

    ....I do feel like CFS is similar to MS in a lot of ways, as I'm sure you guys do too. I know of people with MS that, in my opinion, seem to have CFS instead. They never really tested positive for MS, but their doctors labelled them with "slow-progressing MS" because they couldn't find anything else wrong, except some autoimmune markers. And they are very fatigued.

    So who knows. Maybe WE have this HERV-W active. Hard to know, but I wouldn't doubt it. I have had psychotic episodes, to the point that I was told I was bipolar. I had a sudden onset illness. I test positive for every infection under the sun, it seems.

    I actually don't have post-exertional malaise, as much as I am just too tired to even start something. But when I DO muster up the energy to do something, I don't feel exaggeratedly worse afterwards. It's just a matter of getting up the energy to even do it.

    Oh, and Jemal...yes, I'm aware LDN doesn't work for everyone. It's supposed to help those with both under-active and overactive immune systems. But I do understand some get worse on it. Which in itself tells you something, because you would think that small of a dose of something shouldn't affect a healthy immune system.
     
  8. lancelot

    lancelot Senior Member

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    HERV-W is an ENDOGENOUS retrovirus and HIV is an EXOGENOUS retrovirus. Everyone is born with endogenous retroviruses while exogenous retroviruses(HTLV, HIV, XMRV/MLV) are acquired through sexual contact or contaminated blood(transfusions, needle sharing).

    if XMRV/MLV's is the cause of CFS/ME, it will follow the HIV model.
     
  9. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting a link to this article CAcfs. I had an aunt who had schizophrenia, and have long been interested in its pathophysiology. After learning that strict dietary measures can allow almost all schizphrenics to live outside of institutions, I became convinced that this was not a psychiatric disease.

    Though my aunt died several decades ago, I heard from my uncle recently something she had said to him, just a few months before she became psychotic. She asked him if he ever felt like he was losing his mind. He had not seen any indication that something was going on with her physical or mental health, but remembered this comment after she became ill. Sure sounds like a progressive infection to me.

    Regards, Wayne
     
  10. Bob

    Bob

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    fascinating article...

    There seem to be very similar parallels between the diseases mentioned, and ME and XMRV:
    The waxing and waning of symptoms of both ME and the diseases mentioned;
    The involvement of cytokines in ME and the diseases mentioned;
    How Herv-W expression, and the diseases mentioned, may be triggered/stimulated by pathogens, toxins and other environmental triggers, just like ME.

    Judy Mikovits has said that her research shows that atypical MS may be linked to XMRV (an exogenous retrovirus)... and this article says that (non-atypical) MS may be linked to an endogenous retrovirus. So there is a link there too.


    The last paragraph is very hopeful:
    And I suppose that endogenous retroviruses don't mutate, like HIV does, so it might be very easy to suppress once they find a successful treatment.


    I've also always been very interested in the inflammation/depression link, because I've suffered from depression since puberty, which I've never accepted was psychologically based... I always believed that it was a biological disturbance, even before I ever knew anything about biology... My life was such that it didn't make any sense for me to have a purely psychologically based depression.
     
  11. Bob

    Bob

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    Yes I suppose we might have an activated HERV-W... Briggitte Huber researches another HERV, HERV-K18, and says that it codes for a 'superantigen' that she thinks is stimulated by EBV infection. I think the suggestion is that the 'superantigen' causes inflammation etc. She is interested to see if HERV-K18 interacts with XMRV.
     
  12. Bob

    Bob

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    Hi Jemal, that's very interesting... do you mind me asking which medicine has helped you?
     
  13. Bob

    Bob

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    Hi Wayne,
    That's very interesting... I've never heard that before...
    Do you happen to know what sort of dietary measures have to be followed to help people with schizophrenia?
    I'm very interested in how diet affects various illnesses.
    Thanks for any info,
    Bob
     
  14. Bob

    Bob

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    Hi CAcfs,

    Thanks for posting the interesting article...

    I thought that maybe they are suggesting that HERV-W expression and the immune system are linked, and there is a problem with both HERV-W and the cytokines etc.... I'm not sure if they are suggesting it might be a vicious circle, whereby HERV-W is stimulated, which in turn triggers the cytokines, which in turn triggers the HERV-W.

    Yes, but I think they are suggesting that if they can suppress the expression of HERV-W, then this might successfully treat the associated diseases.

    Yes, everyone has HERV-W because it is an 'endogenous' retrovirus, which means that it is actually a section of our own human DNA. HIV is an 'exogenous' virus which means that it behaves in the normal way that we think about infectious viruses (i.e. it's an independent virus that infects us).

    They talk about endogenous retrovirus 'expression' because in some cases our cells start to make the proteins, or viral particles, that the HERV's encode for.

    So I think that they are suggesting that people with MS/bipolar/schizophrenia either express a lot of these HERV viral particles, or they react badly to them.

    XMRV is an exogenous virus (infectious & independent) so it infects us by being an active virus.
    If it's undetectable I think it is more likely that it is absent or hidden (low numbers) rather than inactive or dormant. (But i'm just guessing here.)

    XMRV is similar to HIV because it is an independent infectious retrovirus. HERV-W is an endogenous retrovirus, which means that its part of the human genome, and not an independent infectious virus.

    There's only three known exogenous human retroviruses - XMRV, HIV and HTVL...
    Whereas there's loads of endogenous human retroviruses (HERV's). HERV's are thought to be mostly harmless and inactive, but as the article says, there is ongoing research to see if some of them might be responsible for certain diseases. Maybe they are also responsible for auto-immune diseases and there has been research that has detected HERV-K18 (I think) particles in psoriasis lesions.
    The final paragraphs of the article suggest what treatment might be available for HERV-W in the future.

    I'm not quite sure what you mean here because a retrovirus = HIV = AIDS = disease.
    Toxins have been known to trigger ME for many many years... If ME is associated with, or caused by, XMRV then ME has a similar pattern to the diseases mentioned in the article.

    Thanks for the discussion CAcfs... It's a really interesting subject.
     
  15. redo

    redo Senior Member

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    Thanks for sharing CAcfs
     
  16. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Thank you so much for posting this article. It's got important implications for XMRV and is also so important for schizophrenics. My mother's twin sister is schizophrenic and from when she was first ill, she always swore she caught the illness and that it was infectious. Everyone thought this talk was just a symptoms of her madness, of course.
     
  17. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    I don't have this either. The problem like you say is that I was feeling too tired to start doing something. I have noticed I am out of breath very soon after pshysical activity (I recognize this symptom from the times I had the flu). I am not feeling worse days after, however.

    For me this is a big question, because if XMRV is causing problems by itself, then at least I am glad my immune system is fighting it. If XMRV is harmless, then my immune system needs a kick in the rear and stop it :)

    Unfortunately I don't think treatment will be that easy. ERV's are part of our DNA. At the moment we don't have technology to eliminate a virus, let alone a virus that has integrated into our DNA. If the immune system is attacking an ERV, you basically have an autoimmune disorder. And autoimmune disorders are very difficult to treat as well and as far as I know there are no cures yet. Many people with autoimmune disorders are treated for it, but still have many of our symptoms, like fatigue and muscle pain. The problem is you want to make the immune system stop attacking certain cells, but we don't know how to do that. And obviously you can't knockout the immune system as that creates a deadly situation quickly.

    I have been taking Ibuprofen daily for about 10 months now. I also took Doxycycline for a month, an antibiotic that is also anti-inflammatory. Both have enabled me to recover lost ground, but I am still ill.
     
  18. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    Also, I am hoping XMRV really is an exogenous retrovirus like HIV. I think our options for treatment are better in this situation. There's a lot of knowledge already that may be able to help us.
    If XMRV is an endogenous retrovirus (ERV) or if another ERV is causing the immune system to attack our own cells, I think it will be more difficult to get a good treatment. I am afraid many researchers will also be put off in this situation. An infectious retrovirus will draw far more attention.
     
  19. pictureofhealth

    pictureofhealth XMRV - L'Agent du Jour

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    That's so interesting! We were just discussing Schizophrenia being linked to a cat parasite on another PR thread last week! This is such a great and informative article. It would be wonderful to think that MS patients could also stand to benefit hugely from more research into this.
     
  20. Bob

    Bob

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    I think there's cause to be slightly more optimistic (but I'm always being over-optimistic on this forum!)... If we were to understand the specific cause of an auto-immune disorder, and it happens to be related to a HERV, for example, then it might be possible to target specific proteins, or to block specific enzymes or block genetic code from being expressed. Did you read the last two paragraphs from the article, for example, where they are developing promising treatments? If we know that a HERV is causing symptoms then we could target that HERV in a variety of ways to reduce its impact.

    Here's the paragraphs from the article:


    Thanks for the info Jemal... I've not heard of anyone taking Ibuprofen to help ME before... I'm glad you think it's helping you... I take very small doses of Clonazepam which is the only medication or supplement that always consistently helped me.
     

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