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How similar is autism to ME/CFS?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Jesse2233, May 28, 2017.

  1. Jesse2233

    Jesse2233 Senior Member

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    I post this in light of Dr Naviaux's promising pilot suramin trial in autistic children, and the suggestion that the drug may benefit ME/CFS patients as well. Dr Naviaux hypothesizes that a CDR (cell danger response) mediates both diseases, and that by correcting it, a switch to healing will be flipped.

    So my question is how similar is autism to ME/CFS?

    I don't know much about autism and its underlying pathology and I'd be interested to learn more. Obviously these are very different diseases from a symptomatic standpoint. For one, people with autism don't have PEM.

    There do seem to be some symptomatic similarities such as sensitivity to noise and light, and increased difficulty with social interactions. Furthermore Dr Naviaux has identified metabolomic similarities between the two diseases, and Dr Yasko has researched common MTHFR mutations.

    Is there anyone with greater knowledge in this area who might be able to shed some light on the subject?
     
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  2. Sushi

    Sushi Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Rich VanK often compared them--you could look that up here on the site.
     
  3. belize44

    belize44 Senior Member

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    I would like to correct you there, since I have Aspergers, a milder form of autism. Yes, we DO suffer from PEM but for slightly different reasons than those with CFIDS. Sensory overload can lead to physical exhaustion, which is greatly exacerbated if quiet, non stimulating surroundings are not sought immediately. There can also be pain from tensed muscles as we are hypervigilant for the unexpected and on guard against unexpected stimuli.

    There can be emotional breakdowns if exposed to too much social interaction and noise and such. as would happen at a shopping mall, a concert or even on a busy street. We must pace ourselves and learn the signals for when we are becoming over stimulated and plan social outings accordingly.

    And this may be merely my own opinion but I don't see autism as a pathology, more as a brain wiring difference. It makes life very difficult to have a family member with severe autism; I have a younger sister who had to be institutionalized as a child because we lived in a time where people were not familiar with autism and simply labeled her unbalanced.
    Yes, these similarities are there! I find this fascinating in a way. I belong to an autistic forum and am constantly seeing others there complain of a lot of the symptoms that we share about here on PR.
     
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  4. Jesse2233

    Jesse2233 Senior Member

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    Thank you @belize44 for clarifying and forgive me for misstating symptoms as my understanding of autism / Aspergers / ASD is limited.

    Very interesting that there actually is a form a PEM. Perhaps this is related to a similar depletion of ATP and inability to quickly re-synthesize it. Are there ever any flu-like symptoms in ASD?
     
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  5. belize44

    belize44 Senior Member

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    Yes, I have had them myself before I became ill with CFIDS; and I have heard others say they felt ill after attending a draining social event. I don't recall if they complained exactly of flu like symptoms, but they did report feeling as if they had come down something.
     
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  6. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Edit. I missed this thread. I haven't had a chance to read it so that may affect what I stated below.

    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...cation-and-interview.51753/page-3#post-855615

    I have worked with teens who have Aspergers. Other than sensory overload I don't see a similarity.

    While they may have overlapping symptoms and co morbidities this doesn't necessarily mean they are the same. For example osteoarthritis shares symptoms with Reumatoid arthritis.They both affect the joints. If I understand correctly, their causes are different. Osteoarthritis almost always appears as we age and caused by "wear and tear" whereas Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and can appear at any age. RA is more serious but that does not mean arthritis is a benign condition.*

    I'm not a medical person so if this information is not correct, let me know. Maybe @Jonathan Edwards, if he has the time, can explain this better. I get somewhat confused about the word pathology.

    I agree with @belize44. Asperergers is not a medical condition,in the strictest sense of the word.

    *I've used this as an example as when my doctor wanted to know my family history. a friend asked me why RA is considered an autoimmune condition vs. arthritis. My aunt had rheumatoid arthritis, Autoimmune disorders don't just run in my family, they gallop!
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  7. JamBob

    JamBob Senior Member

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    I'm not knowledgeable. However I am very interested in any possible link because....

    1) One of my siblings has Aspergers. As does another family member.
    2) I have ME
    3) My sibling and I both have what is classed as T1 diabetes which is a metabolic disease. However our diabetes was always seen as a "weird case" as we were both skinny kids but we didn't present like T1s typically do but we certainly didn't present like T2s either. He got tested for MODY but doesn't have the MODY genes that are currently known.

    My sibling is a fitness fanatic and loves to exercise - he gets a lot of energy from exercising - (I used to be the same before ME) - so in that sense the two conditions are not similar at all. He has all kinds of sensory sensitivities particularly around smells, noise and light. He feels overwhelmed by personal interaction.
     
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  8. Jesse2233

    Jesse2233 Senior Member

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    Interesting, was your onset viral or gradual?
     
  9. JamBob

    JamBob Senior Member

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    Hard to say. I was unwell for several months with undiagnosed autoimmune hypothyroidism and work stress. Started taking thyroid replacement and then 3 weeks later I got a really bad virus. The ME type symptoms happened after the virus however I also got the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency at that time. I think the virus might have been the last straw but I can't be sure :).

    Whenever I develop an autoimmune disease it seems to be preceded by a respiratory virus and some kind of stress. (Uni stress, work stress).

    My sibling had recurrent bouts of food poisoning (he's not the best chef :)) in the run up to his diabetes diagnosis.

    ETA: I think the underlying disease process is probably going on for some time but it is a virus that would take me to the doctors as I'd feel like "I can't recover from this virus". Then they'd run some investigations over a period of time and then I'd get some autoimmune diagnosis. So I don't think of viruses as "causative" so much as just the straw that breaks the camel's back.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
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  10. Neunistiva

    Neunistiva Senior Member

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    It seems like what you are describing is exhaustion and fatigue more severe than average person exposed to same conditions would suffer from. But that is not PEM.

    Many illnesses and even some medication have pathological fatigue and pain as consequence of exertion and stimuli. But that is not PEM.

    For people with ME/CFS PEM causes aching pains, not pain from tensed muscles.

    PEM is loss of physical and mental stamina that does not return with rest. Sometimes it can take days or weeks to regain it, sometimes it is never regained. PEM leads to complete exhaustion but brain can't rest which often leads to insomnia. There can be flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, ...

    PEM is far more than just fatigue and it can be objectively measured with pain threshold after exercise (ME/CFS have lowered pain threshold after exercise while healthy people have increased pain threshold), effort and performance on cognitive tests, and oxygen consumption on two day exercise test.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any of that has been measured in autism spectrum disorders?
     
  11. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    I recall some years ago that Professor Hooper wrote a book about the biochemical similarities of ME and autism. I can't recall its name...........Engaging with...something.....................it is hidden away in one of my bookcases.

    One of the doctors well known in the ME field...........I think it may have been Dr David Bell, when asked why don't we see ME in the under-twos, said, 'We do. But we call it autism'. The level of brain development determines which disease one develops or so it was claimed.
     
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  12. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

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    For me they are completely different since the causes appear to be different, I think the cognitive dysfunction we get as a result of depletion of ATP is very different in that it's not always present and waxes and wanes. I don't have issues interacting with people or problems with excess stimuli unless I'm in PEM. I had none of these problems before I got the disease. I was gradual onset as are about 50% of people with ME/CFS (I.e not post viral)

    As I understand it with autism you are born with the condition and it's constant due to brain chemistry/wiring? This seems a quite different cause even if the symptoms appear the same at times. My nephew has Aspergers but I think the cause of this has been linked to him being born premature.

    What I find interesting is the methylation link to help symptom relief. Before I took methylation sups, I was in a constant brain fog, so perhaps there is a biochemical basis for symptom relief in both?
     
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  13. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Im on the autism spectrum and it is really bothering me a lot how often people in the disability fields or who work with autism are blaming my ME/CFS symptoms on autism though I know which are and which arent (of cause the ones which arent autism symptoms are the ones which I didnt have before I got ME/CFS).

    Autism is far more then just a "brain wiring problem" as those with autism often have other issues too eg more allergies, may have things like IBS etc etc among other issues which indicate its more then a brain wiring issue.

    Some things which both ME/CFS and autism spectrum can have are

    1/ Trouble with socializing and forming and maintaining relationships (of cause this is for different reasons)
    2/ Fatigue more easily then normal (I wont call it PEM in Autism as there is no delayed tiredness reaction which happens in ME/CFS but a child with autism may need a nap after school)
    3/ there is some metabolic similarities (I forget now what exactly these are)
    4/ Actual allergy issues and food intollerances
    5/ IBS and more gut issues then the norm (often those with Autism may need special diets)
    6/ can suffer from over stimuli
    7/ noise intollerance
    8/ sensitivity to odours
    9/ sensitivity to touch
    10/ sensitivity to light eg fluorescent lights can cause issues to both groups
    11/ both groups can suffer from isolation
    12/ Difficulty changing plans or Need for routine (ME people can need this due to memory issues or to keep within pacing)
    13/ Dislike of Travel
    14/ Anxiety
    15/ Sleep issues (WebMD also reports that as many as 70% of autistic people have problems with sleep.)
    16/ May have trouble doing certain tasks

    Its interesting thou we have many overlapping symptoms, that the symptoms are often brought on by different reasons
     
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  14. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    Two very different illnesses. Of course having one doesn't rule out the other (statistically it will happen in some cases), as they have different underlying causes.
     
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  15. slysaint

    slysaint Senior Member

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    I have known a little boy who is 'severely' autistic (level 3) from when he was a baby, he is now 12.
    As this is on a public thread I won't go into details but suggest you take a look at the many Youtube videos
    and heres a link which might give some insight:
    https://www.verywell.com/what-is-severe-autism-260044
     
  16. belize44

    belize44 Senior Member

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    I am not sure that it has been measured in autism spectrum disorders, but my info has come only from what others on the spectrum have reported. They have also said that they have had muscle pain and fatigue since childhood, as I have, myself. It wasn't until I was in my forties that I was diagnosed with ME/CFIDS.

    It would an interesting study to delve into the similarities between people with CFIDS and autism.
     
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  17. wastwater

    wastwater Senior Member

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    Maybe it's a bit like ADEM but at different times early on destroying fragile brain connections and later on damaging established connections
     
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  18. pattismith

    pattismith Senior Member

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    I have always thought that Autism and CFS were two faces of a same disease, the first starting in utero or in the first months of life, whereas CFS never described before about 10 years old.

    Garth Nicholson, who was working on Mycoplasma infections had found that both CFS parents and Autistic children were more likely to be infected...

    I have myself a friend who has CFS and her child is autistic....

    And a recent study shows that Hyperlactetemia is found in 20% of autistic children, a condition that is often associated with CFS too...
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  19. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    Wouldn't another similarity be that (in a certain subgroup) a vaccine can be the trigger for autism in a previously healthy baby and a vaccine can be the trigger of CFS in a previously healthy teen or adult?
     
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  20. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Autism is not a latent condition. You are born with it but it may not become apparent until certain milestones such as language fail to develop.. Nor do healthy babies develop autism though there may be certain conditions,with a variety of causes with similar symptoms that may be confused with autism.

    There is an abundance of scientific evidence that vaccines do not cause autism. Vaccines may cause health injuries but that is fortunately quite rare and usually there is an underlying health condition. This does not in any way diminish the impact on a family when it does happen.

    I haven't seen evidence, other than anecdotal, that vaccinations cause me/cfs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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